Q& A

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - HEALTH MATTERS -

Iwould think that if you had bad asthma there is a good chance that you had to take steroids many times when you were younger. In­creased life­time ex­po­sure to steroids is one risk for os­teo­poro­sis, a con­di­tion that can dam­age the ver­te­brae and lead to re­duced height and pos­tural change. A curve of the up­per spine may oc­cur which at it’s worst be­comes what is re­ferred to as a dowa­gers hump. I’m not fa­mil­iar with the process of Rolf­ing but re­search of ev­i­dence would sug­gest that although anec­do­tal ben­e­fits are re­ported there is no med­i­cal ev­i­dence it is of any ben­e­fit. I would how­ever sug­gest you see your GP and be re­ferred for a Dexa scan to check your bone den­sity, to see if you are at risk of or have de­vel­oped os­teo­poro­sis.

If this is the case, a med­i­cal treat­ment pro­gramme could be de­vised for you. It is es­ti­mated that our en­tire skele­ton is re­mod­elled ev­ery ten years be­tween the ages of two and 30. Peak bone strength is reached in our 20s and sta­bilises un­til our mid-30s. From the age of 35 on­wards we lose bone den­sity and strength. Main­tain­ing good bone health starts in child­hood and con­tin­ues life-long.

Cal­cium and vi­ta­min D are the two main min­er­als in­volved in bone health. Un­for­tu­nately, a large per­cent­age of peo­ple don’t meet their ad­e­quate daily in­take. Nearly 40pc of chil­dren and 75pc of ado­les­cents don’t have enough cal­cium in their diet. Vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency is also com­mon with about eight in 10 adults and pri­mary school chil­dren hav­ing less than 50pc of rec­om­mended vi­ta­min D lev­els. The best source of cal­cium is from dairy prod­ucts although other sources in­clude green veg­eta­bles, pulses, and breads.

Poorly nour­ished bones be­come brit­tle and weak, lead­ing firstly to os­teope­nia then to os­teo­poro­sis (brit­tle bone dis­ease). Os­teo­poro­sis af­fects one int­wowom­e­nan­done­in­five­men.It can also af­fect chil­dren.

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