According to the medical dictionary from Merriam-Webster, Osteoporosis is a condition that affects especially older women and is characterized by decrease in bone mass with decreased density and enlargement of bone producing porosity and brittleness.
To make it simple, osteoporosis is the bone disease that reduces bone density, making bones porous and brittle and therefore more likely to fracture or break. The earlier onset of osteoporosis is osteopenia and these affect 1 in every 5 women in the United States alone. It has no direct effect on health as such, but makes a patient highly prone to painful bone fractures with the slightest mishap. It can also prove to be fatal, with those suffering losing their lives because of an unhealed broken bone and the resultant blood clot and the like.
The unfortunate part about osteopenia and osteoporosis is that both are not detectable until the victim suffers a bone related injury and then the diagnosis is given. There are many preventive measures that can be taken and in doing so, maybe the victim will suffer from osteopenia which is relatively curable compared to the more serious osteoporosis that needs constant medical attention. A woman reaches her bone density peak between the ages of 25-30 and if at this time a bone density scan is taken, she can determine if in future she will be at risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. If the bone density is low, then she is at high risk. Post the age of 30 your bone density will reduce as compared to how much it can build back up. Regular medical check-ups seem to be the best answer to preventive measures.
A healthy diet as well as an active lifestyle also help with keeping osteoporosis at bay. However, muscle building is not to be confused with bone strengthening. While hitting the gym means more concentration on muscles, for osteopenia and osteoporosis, this will not be a preventive measure. However, exercises that include a brisk walk or active sports will help it. Eating foods that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and other nutrients necessary for bone building will play a major role keeping osteopenia and osteoporosis at bay.
Another important factor to remember is about the medication you take. Since those who fall victim to osteopenia and osteoporosis are in the postmenopausal stage, they tend to have other illnesses as well and may be taking medication for that. But if your medication encourages the reduction of the hormone estrogen, then you are more likely to develop osteopenia because of that, or worse, osteoporosis. This is because estrogen is the main hormone responsible for bone building and strengthening. If you must still take your medication, then it is suggested that you also consume supplements that will make up for the loss.
The earliest detection of osteopenia or osteoporosis will help you take measures to prevent further bone loss, if not build bone mass back up immediately. The medication that is involved with resorption or stopping further loss of bone mass is expensive and has to be renewed every couple of years. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are silent killers with an alarming number of victims that will never be able to function to their full capacity. Living a healthy lifestyle and making sure that you go for regular medical check-ups seem to be the only way to prevent yourself from being the next victim.
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