Osteoporosis affects over 20 million Americans. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
This disease causes a person’s bones to become weak and brittle. Sometimes, the bones become so fragile that they can break during normal daily activity.
Osteoporosis develops over several years, and the disease typically doesn’t exhibit symptoms during the early stages.
However, during the later stages, a person may notice loss of height, curved upper spine, and associated back pain.
At this stage, this debilitating condition can drastically affect the quality of a person’s life.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Certain people are more likely to develop osteoporosis than others. Here are several of the risk factors that are associated with osteoporosis:
During menopause, a women’s body undergoes many changes. One of the physiological changes that a woman encounters at that time is a reduction in estrogen.
When a woman’s estrogen level declines, bone loss may increase. Estrogen is known for protecting bones. If a woman goes through menopause early, the risk of osteoporosis increases.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, family history can play a significant role in broken bones as well as osteoporosis.
If your parents have a history of osteoporosis, or tend to break bones easily, you may be at risk for developing osteoporosis as well.
Women who drink alcohol excessively or smoke are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
Women who don’t get enough exercise are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Frequent exercise can help keep your bones strong.
Osteoporosis is more common in older people; however, it can affect people of all ages.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Women inherently have thinner, lighter bones than men. Moreover, women with small bones are at a higher risk than larger framed women.
It’s important to eat fruits and vegetables. And for people who don’t get enough minerals from foods, multivitamins will be a useful tool in their diet.
Diets that contain sodium and caffeine can cause the body to lose calcium. This loss of calcium can rob the bones of much-needed nutrients. Along with too much caffeine and sodium, research has suggested that soda may have the same negative risk.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
Health experts recommend exercise for people with osteoporosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, and osteoporosis exercise program can improve your muscle strength, increase balance, and may help to inhibit your bones from getting weaker.
Bone mass and density are two very important terms when it comes to osteoporosis. A thorough exercise program will help to build bone mass as well as combat osteoporosis.
This type of activity involves doing exercise on your feet. These movements will allow your bones to support your weight, which will in turn increases the overall density of your bones.
Examples of this type of activity include the following exercises:
- Low-impact aerobics
- Elliptical machines
- Stair climbing
These movements will strengthen your bones, and at the same time will provide healthy cardiovascular benefits.
Resistance training helps with osteoporosis because it strengthens muscles and actually builds bone. This activity will assist in building bone density, while reducing the risk of fracture.
Examples of resistance training exercises include:
- Use of resistance bands
- Free weights
- Machine assisted weights
- Water exercises with resistance
For best results, make sure that you rest a day between strength training workouts. Also, try to work out at least 2 to 3 times a week, and choose a resistance program that works a variety of muscles.
When your muscles are loose and flexible, they have less of a chance of getting injured. Flexibility can also help your posture, which in turn puts less stress on your bones.
A thorough stretching routine may include the following exercises:
- Tai chi
- Regular body stretches
Movements to avoid in Osteoporosis
People with osteoporosis should avoid exercises that increase pressure on the lower extremities and spine. Avoid jerky, sudden movements such as jumping, running, and any high impact exercise.
If you suffer from osteoporosis, avoid exercises that involve bending and twisting at the waist, such as golf, tennis, bowling, and certain stretching and yoga movements.