Osteoporosis – am I at risk?

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What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis (name comes from a latin word for “porous bones”)

The inside of a healthy bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. Osteoporosis is when there is an increase in the size of these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density. In addition, the outside of the bone grows weaker and thinner.  Osteoporosis is more common in older adults, especially women but it can affect anyone. People with osteoporosis are at a high risk of fractures, or bone breaks, while doing routine activities such as standing or walking. The most commonly affected bones are the ribs, hips, and the bones in the wrists and spine. Osteoporosis can hugely affect your quality of life and mobility

Am I at risk? 

1. Menopause

Menopause is another primary risk factor, which occurs in women around the ages of 45 to 55 years. Due to the change in hormone levels associated with it menopause can cause a woman’s body to lose bone even more quickly. Men continue to lose bone at this age, but at a slower rate than women do. However, by the time they reach the ages of 65 to 70, women and men are usually losing bone at the same rate. 

2. Being Female 

3. Being Caucasian or Asian

4. Having a family history of osteoporosis

5. Poor nutrition

6. Being physically inactive

7. Smoking

8. Low body weight 

9. Small-boned frame

What now? 

There’s a lot you can do both to prevent and to treat osteoporosis, from eating right and exercising to taking appropriate medications. 

Improving your diet and start an exercise program can benefit your bone health. However, you can’t control other risk factors, such as your age or gender

If you think you’re at risk of osteoporosis, or if you’ve been diagnosed with it, talk to your health care professional (doctor and/or dietitian). They can work with you to put together a prevention or treatment plan that can help improve your bone health and reduce your risk of complications

References: 

1. Osteoporosis overview. (2018). niams.nih.gov/HealthInfo/Bone/Osteoporosis/overview.asp

2. What is osteoporosis and what causes it? (n.d.). nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/

Yours In Health

Mbali Mapholi

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