The Ultimate Guide To Learn About Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Prevention & FAQs

The Ultimate Guide To Learn About Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Prevention & FAQs

Reviewed By

Dr. Kshama Dhawan (MSc (Sports Therapy))

Our bones are the structural blocks of our bodies. These bones are continually being broken down and rebuilt. More bone is built than broken down during the early stages of our lives. When we hit the age of 30, our bone development is complete. It is the point when we have reached our optimum bone mass.

Osteoporosis is a medical disorder in which the bones become brittle and fragile. It causes the formation of holes in the bones. It weakens the bone to the point that bone fractures occur even with little coughing or bending. Osteoporosis occurs when the body is unable to recover the bone loss. 

Osteoporosis affects men and women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. However, white and Asian women, particularly older women who have passed menopause, are more likely to suffer from it.

A lot of people over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture at least once during their lifetime. About 30% of people falling in this age group have poor bone density, putting them at risk of osteoporosis. Osteopenia is the name given to this disorder.

Symptoms Of Osteoporosis:

In the early stages of osteoporosis, determining the symptoms might be challenging. This is most certainly why it is also known as "silent sickness." It slips in and destroys the bone without a trace. However, there are a few warning flags you should be aware of:

  • Back pain because of a fractured vertebra

  • Forward bending

  • Height loss over a period of time

  • A bone that fractures often more quickly than usual

  • Breathing difficulties

Treatment And Prevention Of Osteoporosis

Treatment:

A healthcare professional may suggest meds or hormonal treatment, based on your condition. The majority of people who are at high risk of fracture are given drugs that slow down the rundown of bone. A drug that encourages bone growth (anabolic drug) is often advised for patients with severe osteoporosis who are at high risk of fracture.

Who is at higher risk?

  • Older men & women:

    Women who’ve passed their menopausal period and men over the age of 50 who’ve had spine or hip fractures before are under more threat. It is important for older men and women to keep their bone density under check. If the bone density testing (t-score) is less than 2.5 then it’s a clear sign of osteoporosis.  

  • Women who haven’t hit menopause:

    Premenopausal women who’ve had a history of low bone density, bone loss, and fractures could be at risk of osteoporosis. However, there are no studies to prove the possibility of osteoporosis in premenopausal women. 

Prevention:

There are certain preventive measures that you can take to keep your bones healthy and reduce the possibility of fractures and bone loss. To prevent osteoporosis it is important for you to exercise regularly, maintain an optimal diet and avoid smoking. 

  • Regular Exercise:

    Regular exercise can help you to maintain your bone mass and density. It is essential for both pre and postmenopausal women to include exercise in their daily routine. A physical therapist can assist you with exercises that will boost your muscle strength, improve balance, and reduce your chances of falling and suffering a fracture or any other damage.

  • Optimal Diet:

    An ideal diet for bone development includes plenty of protein and calories, along with vitamin d and Calcium that are vital for maintaining proper bone density and regeneration. Men and women in their premenopausal years should take 1000 mg of calcium daily. Women in their postmenopausal years should take at least 1200 mg of calcium every day. Men above the age of 70, as well as postmenopausal women, must take 20 micrograms of vitamin D per day. In elderly women and men who consume enough calcium, the above dose helps in decreasing bone loss and fracture rate.

  • Avoid Smoking:

    Smoking could prove to be harmful and might create a risk of osteoporosis. Smoking is known to aggravate bone loss. According to a study, women who smoke 1 pack of cigarettes per day during their adult years have a 5 to 10% decline in bone mineral density by the time they hit menopause, increasing their risk of osteoporosis.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How to treat osteoporosis without medication?

Osteoporosis can be treated with the help of physiotherapy. Physiotherapy exercises can help strengthen your bones and improve your balance to prevent falls. Your physiotherapist will examine your condition and will create a customised treatment plan for you.

You can avail yourself of physiotherapy at home through YourPhysio | India's #1 Trusted Online Physiotherapy Service.

2. What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is caused due to excessive bone loss. When the bones lose strength and become weak, they start to form holes, which results in bone fracture. Postmenopausal women and men over 50 are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis Lack of proper diet, regular smoking can trigger the possibility of bone fracture in premenopausal women. 

3. Is osteoporosis a terminal illness?

Osteoporosis is not necessarily a terminal disease. People do not generally die due to osteoporosis. However, there have been deaths that are caused due to severe fractures, or fracture complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s high time you start following a healthy lifestyle. 

4. What are the supplements to prevent osteoporosis?

Along with a healthy diet, supplements are equally necessary to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone mass and density. It is important to take supplements like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, Boron, Magnesium, and, soy isoflavones. Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K are a must as they play a vital role in boosting bone growth and reducing bone loss and fractures. 

5. What are the exercises to prevent osteoporosis? 

Physical exercise is used to minimise the risk of developing osteoporosis and avoid bone injury in adults over the age of 65 by boosting muscle strength, posture and balance. The type of treatment exercises that are suitable and safe for your bones is also determined by the strength of your bones.

Resistance training and weight-bearing exercises are the best exercises to treat osteoporosis. 

  • Balance Training

    Single-legged stand and tai chi are two balance exercises that can help you improve your balance and will prevent falling. Begin with an easy balance exercise and progress to more difficult ones; you could then keep challenging yourself by trying to close your eyes throughout exercises that you've perfected.

  • Resistance Training

    Resistance training helps to raise BMD to relatively high levels, lowering the risk of it decreasing to osteoporosis levels later in adulthood. If you manage to do resistance training throughout your life, it will help decrease the age-related decline in BMD and, as a result, minimise the risk of fractures in old age.

  • Weight-Bearing Exercises

    Weight-bearing exercises like running, jumping and aerobics are high-impact exercises and have proved to increase bone strength faster compared to low-impact exercises like walking.

In order to gain benefits from weight-bearing exercises, it is essential for you to keep training for a longer period. 

6. How do you explain osteoporosis to a patient?

The easiest way to explain osteoporosis to a patient is by telling them that osteoporosis creates holes in the bones. It makes the bone weak and fragile and causes bone fractures more often than usual. 

7. Which foods increase bone density?

Calcium is required to keep your bones strong and healthy, and vitamin D is required to ensure your absorption of calcium. Unhealthy bones can create a risk of diseases like osteoporosis and rickets. A balanced diet should provide you with all of the nutrients you require for healthy bones.

An adult should take 1000 mg of calcium per day. You can cover your calcium intake through foods like cheese, milk, green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, okra, soya beans, tofu, plant-based drinks with nuts, bread, and fish like sardines and pilchards.

You can take your daily dose of vitamin D through sunlight. However, during winters and rainy days, you can opt for vitamin D supplements. Oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and egg yolks are a few good sources of vitamin D.

 

8. What are 3 things you can do to strengthen your bones?

The three things that can help to strengthen your bones are vitamin D, calcium, and regular exercise. Calcium is necessary to keep your bones strong and healthy, and vitamin D is needed to ensure calcium absorption. A healthy adult should consume 1000 mg of calcium every day. Calcium can be obtained from foods such as cheese, milk, green leafy green vegetables, cabbage, okra, soya beans, tofu, plant-based drinks with nuts, bread, and fish like sardines and pilchards.

9. How to increase bone density after 60?

There are several ways to increase bone density after the age of 60, including increasing calcium and vitamin D intake. Premenopausal men and women should take 1000 mg of calcium daily, while postmenopausal men and women should take 1200 mg. Older people, that is, people over the age of 70, should take 12 mg of vitamin D every day.

Another way to increase bone density is by avoiding smoking and drinking. Moderate drinking can also be suggested but it is necessary for you to be cautious. Daily exercise is a must to increase bone density and improve body balance, posture, and bone strength.

10. What are the 10 ways to keep the skeletal system healthy?  

It is very important for each one of us to keep our skeletal system healthy. We all can introduce certain easy ways in our daily life, be it diet or exercise, to keep our bones healthy and strong.  Below are the 10 ways to keep your skeletal system healthy and strong:

  • Increase your calcium intake

  • Learn about your family's history for any occurrence of the condition

  • Take your vitamin D

  • Include vitamin K to increase bone density

  • Exercise regularly

  • Increase your potassium intake

  • Reduce your caffeine consumption

  • Moderate alcohol intake

  • Quit smoking

  • Keep your weight in check.

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