An estimated 10 million people age 50 years and over in the United States have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes a person’s bones to become thin and weak, resulting in a higher likelihood of fracture. The illness affects more women than men due to decreasing testosterone levels in the female aging process. As widespread as it is, it’s smart to be familiar with the fundamentals of the disease. Being knowledgeable about osteoporosis can help you diagnose symptoms quicker and be treated sooner. Here are answers to a few of the most asked questions about osteoporosis.
What causes osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is caused by a decrease in bone density, which results in bones becoming fragile and prone to breaking. Bones naturally become weaker as we age, but for some, it may happen much quicker than others. Age, early menopause, poor diet (calcium deficiency), and past injuries can each contribute to osteoporosis. There are certain illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis and kidney disease, that also make individuals more likely to develop osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can also be hereditary. If you have a family member who has experienced bone breakage from the disease, your chance of developing similar symptoms is above average.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?
Leading a healthy lifestyle can help set off osteoporosis. For instance, not smoking, eating high protein foods, and being physically active will help keep bones healthy. A well-balanced diet should provide the necessary calcium, but some may benefit from taking calcium supplements. Vitamin D also plays a vital role. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to strengthen bones and can also be taken as a supplement.
Is there a cure for osteoporosis?
Although there is no direct cure for osteoporosis once it has already been diagnosed, there are always treatments, lifestyle regimens, and preventative measures that can help manage or prevent the disease. A physical routine will help strengthen bones to make them less likely to break. A doctor may recommend an exercise plan that includes strength training and walking. The plan may even include exercises to improve balance to help avoid falling and breaking a bone. Keeping a healthy weight will also help keep osteoporosis in check. As far as pharmaceutical treatments, a doctor may recommend a prescription to slow down the loss of bone density or manage the pain that may come with the illness.
If you feel you may be experiencing osteoporosis, schedule an appointment with one of our experts. By seeking out treatment you’ll have a better chance of preventing fragility or broken bones as you age. To set up your appointment today, please call our office at 307-634-5216.