The bone is one of the hardest substances in the body. It is equal to a matrix which is filled with various minerals like calcium and phosphorus. With age, people lose on the minerals and what remains is the porous matrix. This is a very common condition in elderly people and is known as osteoporosis - osteo for bone, and porosis for the porous condition.
The good news is that this condition can be managed and the onset can also be prevented.
Management: This involves a multi-pronged approach, covering lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and medications.
- Lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol help in improving osteoporosis.
- Diet: Improving vitamin D, calcium intake, and protein supplements help in preventing the onset of osteoporosis. If you do not get the required amounts of vitamins and calcium from the diet, you may be advised to take supplements.
- Exercise: The main issue that people face due to osteoporosis is that the bones get brittle and can fracture and lead to frequent falls. Exercising regularly by including some weight-bearing workouts can a help in strengthening the bones, thus preventing fracture.
- Reduce the incidences of falls: It is very essential to alter the living spaces to reduce incidence of falls. This could include improved lighting, using anti-fall rugs, regular eye checks, etc.
- Medications: Bisphosphonates is the most commonly used drugs for osteoporosis. In addition, hormonal supplements are also used in women who are post-menopausal.
Prevention would include understanding risk factors and working on reducing the impact of these, as below.
- Calcium supplements are suggested for people with a family history. This helps in strengthening the bone matrix and thereby prolongs porous bone formation.
- Women over the age of 40 should take calcium supplements. Menopause is a major risk factor, and this is particularly due to the hormonal changes (lowered levels of estrogen).
- Reducing cigarette smoking helps prolong osteoporosis, as smoking is a major risk factor. The risk is increased in women smokers.
- Sedentary lifestyle is another risk factor, and therefore those who are at risk should engage in an active lifestyle. A regular exercise regime is very essential to keeping the bones agile and strong.
Dietary changes to prevent osteoporosis include:
- Diet rich in dairy products, as it helps by providing adequate calcium. Yoghurt consumption also helps in improving estrogen levels, and prevents osteoporosis.
- Eggs also help in improving calcium and estrogen levels in the body.
- Fish and meat are rich in calcium and protein, so help in preventing osteoporosis.
- Bananas improves calcium absorption, provides essential oils required for bone health.
- Cabbage helps in improving bone metabolism and improving calcium uptake by the bones.
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
So, while osteoporosis is inevitable given the natural bone structure, it can definitely be prevented and managed.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!