‘Osteo’ means bone and ‘porosis’ means “thinning of” or becoming more porous. Hence, Osteoporosis means ‘thinning of bone’. According to medical science, Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone where the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) reduces causing a low bone mass and deteriorating bone tissues. The bone becomes thin, brittle and may easily break. The bone mass density is the quantity of bone present in the skeletal system; higher the density, stronger the bones. Genetic factors, which are sometimes altered or modified by environmental factors or medications, may influence the bone mass density strongly.
Is this a Silent Disease?
If Osteoporosis is not detected in the early stages and left untreated, it can develop without any pain or symptoms until the bone becomes weak and breaks. These broken bones, known as fractures occur usually in the hip, spine or wrist. These fractures can be in the form of cracking in the hip area or collapsing in the spine area. Though these are the common areas prone to fractures but almost every skeletal bone becomes vulnerable to osteoporosis.
The Consequences of Osteoporosis
The affects of osteoporosis may vitiate a person for life. A hip fracture may affect a person’s ability to walk causing permanent disability or even death. The spinal or vertebral fractures also lead to loss of height, severe back pain and deformity. It can cause a person to bend forward and acquire a hump on his or her spine. Anyone can suffer from osteoporosis but women are more vulnerable to it as they have lighter bones than men and lose bones after menopause as their bodies aren’t producing enough estrogen. However men who drink heavily, smoke or take steroids aren’t as immune as them.
Factors Causing Osteoporosis
- Excessive consumption of salt and sugar in junk foods may wash away calcium from the bones through urine.
- Heavy smoking may boost bone loss.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol interrupts the calcium absorption.
- Exposure (not over-exposure) to the sun is also an important factor of bone loss as it reduces the natural vitamin D content in the bones.
- Malnutrition is also an important factor.
- Food with calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus deficiency may lead to Osteoporosis.
- Too much fat consumption causes osteoporosis.
Prevention is Better than Cure
It’s not necessary that your bones have to crack under the strain of the disease. You can stop, slow down or even reverse the bone loss naturally. The natural ways to reverse the bone loss or to stop it are:
- Fish oil containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is a natural remedy for osteoporosis and also helps improving the skin and brain function and avoid cardiovascular problems.
- Calcium and magnesium supplements help in increasing bone density.
- Walking in chest-deep water for about 30 minutes, especially when having a fracture or two, will help support your body weight and take stress off bones and joints.
- Brussels sprouts are rich in Vitamin K that activates the protein found in bones called osteocalcin for holding calcium molecules in place, are known to prevent osteoporosis.
- Quitting cigarette smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and daily exercise may help prevent osteoporosis.
- Avoid carbonated drinks rich in phosphoric acid.
- Reducing the intake of salt and sugar.
It is important to take immediate measures to control the symptoms of Osteoporosis to prevent the forthcoming dangers.