Learn­ing the facts about os­teo­poro­sis

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CLASSIFIED­S - Con­trib­uted

Os­teo­poro­sis is often seen as a prob­lem for the el­derly, and the Na­tional Os­teo­poro­sis Foundation notes that be­ing over 50 is a ma­jor risk fac­tor for os­teo­poro­sis.

But that doesn’t mean peo­ple younger than 50 can’t de­velop the dis­ease.

The mis­con­cep­tion that os­teo­poro­sis ex­clu­sively af­flicts ag­ing men and women only high­lights the need to learn more about the dis­ease.

What is os­teo­poro­sis?

Os­teo­poro­sis is a dis­ease of the bones that oc­curs when the body loses too much bone, makes too lit­tle bone, or both. Be­cause peo­ple can­not feel their bones weak­en­ing, os­teo­poro­sis is often called a “si­lent dis­ease,” notes the NOF. De­spite its si­lence, os­teo­poro­sis is a se­ri­ous threat, in­creas­ing a per­son’s risk for bone breaks from falls.

What hap­pens to bones when a per­son has os­teo­poro­sis?

The NOF notes that, un­der a mi­cro­scope, healthy bones look like a hon­ey­comb.

When a per­son has os­teo­poro­sis, the holes and spa­ces in the hon­ey­comb are con­sid­er­ably larger than in healthy bones. Os­teo­porotic bones are not as dense as healthy bones, and as they be­come less dense, they weaken and are more sus­cep­ti­ble to breaks.

Is os­teo­poro­sis com­mon?

Os­teo­poro­sis is com­mon across the globe. Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Os­teo­poro­sis Foundation, one in three women over age 50 and one in five men over age 50 will ex­pe­ri­ence os­teo­porotic frac­tures.

What are the risk fac­tors for os­teo­poro­sis?

The NOF cat­e­go­rizes risk fac­tors for os­teo­poro­sis as un­con­trol­lable and con­trol­lable. Un­con­trol­lable risk fac­tors in­clude age, fam­ily his­tory, low body weight (be­ing small and thin), and a his­tory of bro­ken bones.

Gen­der also is an un­con­trol­lable risk fac­tor, as women are more likely than men to suffer from os­teo­poro­sis. In fact, the NOF notes that a woman’s risk of break­ing a hip due to os­teo­poro­sis is equal to her risk of breast, ovar­ian and uter­ine can­cer.

Con­trol­lable risk fac­tors for os­teo­poro­sis in­clude not eat­ing enough fruits and veg­eta­bles; consuming too much protein, sodium and caf­feine; a seden­tary life­style; smok­ing; and ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of al­co­hol.

In­suf­fi­cient cal­cium and vi­ta­min D in­take is another con­trol­lable risk fac­tor for os­teo­poro­sis. Speak with a physi­cian about os­teo­poro­sis and the role that diet and ex­er­cise can play in pre­ven­tion.

Os­teo­poro­sis af­fects peo­ple across the globe. Tak­ing steps to re­duce your risk for os­teo­poro­sis can prevent bro­ken bones and other neg­a­tive side ef­fects of this dis­ease.

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