What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone density, causing the bones to become brittle and weak with an increased risk of breakage or fracture. Although, this disease occurs in both male and female alike, it is more prevalent in postmenopausal females. This is as a result of a sudden reduction in their level of oestrogen.
The most common parts of the body affected by osteoporosis are the spinal vertebrae, the hips and the wrist. In most cases there are usually no signs or symptoms exhibited by a person suffering from osteoporosis until there is an incident, such as a minor fall, bending over, sneezing or coughing, which then results in a fracture.
Risk Factors And Causes Of Osteoporosis
- Low Oestrogen Levels: This is mostly caused by menopause. After women have reached menopause, the level of oestrogen produced by the ovaries continue to reduce, putting them at risk of developing osteoporosis. While in men, it is caused by low levels of testosterone. Testosterone is required in the right amount by the body as it is converted to oestrogen for healthy bones.
- Age: As women approach their late ‘30s moving into menopausal age, the risk of suffering from osteoporosis increases.
- Genetics: Having a family history of osteoporosis is another risk factor of osteoporosis in both male and female.
- Low Calcium Diet: Calcium is a major factor in bone development and density. When there is a lack or unsubstantial quantity of calcium in the diet over a long period of time, a person becomes predisposed to osteoporosis.
- Poor Eating Habit: A bad eating habit involving low food intake, causing you to be underweight results in weak bones and an increased risk in osteoporosis.
- Overactive Adrenal and Parathyroid Glands: When these two glands become overactive, the risk of developing osteoporosis shoots up.
- Certain Medications: The use of certain medications for a lengthy period of time may cause bones to become porous. Some of these medications associated with osteoporosis include; medications for thyroid problems, cancer, seizures and bowel diseases.
- Some Medical Conditions like Cancer, multiple myeloma, kidney diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and so on can also increase the risk of osteoporosis in male and female.
- Lack of Exercise and a Sedentary Lifestyle could also lead a person to having osteoporosis.
- Too much Alcohol intake is also a cause of this disease.
The Role Of Calcium In Osteoporosis
Calcium is an important element needed to build stronger and healthier bones. It is recommended that adults between the age of 19 years to 50 years should have a daily intake of 1,000 milligram (mg) of Calcium per day. However, women that are age 51 and above as well as both male and female aged 71 and above should consume at least 1,200 milligram of Calcium per day.
Calcium intake should be higher in females than males because females require extra calcium at certain stages of their lives such as pregnancy and menopause. During pregnancy and lactation, a female is required to consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily as it improves the bone mineral content in the baby and reduces the risk of preeclampsia in the mother.
In addition, since the oestrogen level drops drastically in women after menopause, it is recommended that a daily calcium intake of 1,200 mg is required for women aged 51 and above. Calcium can be gotten from dietary sources such as Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (such as broccoli), Low Fat dairy products (such as yoghurt, milk and cheese), Fish (such as sardines and salmon), Soy products and calcium fortified Cereals. You can also get the daily required calcium from supplements, although calcium from food sources are much better.
The Role Of Vitamin D In Osteoporosis
Vitamin D is another major factor in the build up of strong bones and prevention of osteoporosis as it functions by absorbing calcium from food that has been consumed. A very good source of vitamin D is the sun and regular exposure to moderate sunlight supplies the body with the right amount of Vitamin D needed.
However, for people who live in high latitude regions or who cannot get access to sunlight for any reason, Vitamin D can be gotten from food sources such as saltwater fishes, liver and other manufactured foods that have been fortified with Vitamin D.
Subsequently, the daily required dose of Vitamin D needed in both male and female is between 600 to 800 IU (International Units) per day. Adults up to 69 years of age should consume at least 600 IU per day while from 70 years and above a recommended Vitamin D intake of 800 IU daily would suffice.
Diagnosis Of Osteoporosis
In the case of suspected osteoporosis, the physician will require a test that will measure the Bone Mineral Density (BMD) of the patient. The Bone Mineral Density is measured by doing Bone Density Scan with the Dual-energy Xray Absorptiometry (DEXA) and also a Bone Densitometry.
Osteoporosis requires a great deal of attention as it occurs in adults predominantly females that are above the age of menopause. This care can be gotten from the right food intake and supplements, however regular tests and follow ups that check the level of Bone Mineral Density should be done. This tests, scans and X Ray can be done when you book an appointment with physicians and radiologist on the Sehat Cloud EMR. You can also select and interact with clinicians from anywhere using your mobile devices when you log on and get registered with the Sehat Cloud.