Osteoporosis can occur in people who have a sedentary lifestyle and have very less physical activity. Osteoporosis is a condition with low bone density or mass and increased bone fragility with increased risk of fractures. Bone is made up of calcium, proteins and collagen which give strength. Bones become porous due to osteoporosis and therefore they become press able like sponge. This condition of bone makes it fragile enough and it becomes prone to fractures in the form of cracks or compression fracture of the vertebra of the spine. Bones which are prone to fracture are ribs, spine, wrists and hips.
The density of bone mass increases during childhood and reaches its peak around the age of 25. After the age of 35 the density starts decreasing. Greater the bone density, stronger the bones. Generally men have higher bone density as compare to women. In premenopausal women, estrogen is the magic hormone which helps in maintaining the bone density. In post menopausal women the production of estrogen is reduced because of which there is increased incidence of osteoporosis in post menopausal women.
Symptoms Of Osteoporosis:
- There could be absolutely no visible symptoms of osteoporosis except for pain in bones even when the least pressure is exerted on them.
- There could be serve pain in vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis.
- Hip fractures occur commonly in elderly as a result of fall due to osteoporosis.
- Repeated fractures could lead to collapse of the vertebra causing upper back hump as seen in elderly women.
Factors Aggravating Osteoporosis:
- Low levels of estrogen in females.
- Less calcium in diet, lack of exercise.
- Smoking, consumption of alcohol.
- Low level of testosterone in men.
- Long consumption of steroids, phenobarbitone etc.
The bone density of an individual is compared with reference to average peak bone density of young adults of the same sex and race. This score is designated as “T” score. Osteoporosis denotes bone density, “T” score of -2.5 or below. Osteopenia (between normal and osteoporosis score) denotes bone density ”T” score between -1 and -2.5.
Treatment For Osteoporosis:
The primary aim to treat osteoporosis is to prevent the disease in time so as to have minimal bone loss. A regular exercise and fitness regime should be initiated so that the bone density and strength can be maintained.
Following factors are to be considered while treating osteoporosis –
(1) For treating osteoporosis, rest is not the ideal treatment, because calcium starts getting excreted in urine, and this is why prolonged ambulation leads to osteoporosis.
(2) Smoking cigarette is generally harmful and should be immediately stopped because it decreases estrogen levels which lead to bone loss in women before menopause.
(3) Calcium intake in diet should be increased. Diet containing cheese, milk, yoghurt and dark green vegetables should be increased. Calcium carbonate tablets, around 1000 – 1200 mg per day should be taken in two doses with meals to avoid indigestion and constipation, else calcium citrate can be used.
(4) Vitamin D should be consumed on daily basis, around 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D should be taken daily this helps the absorption of dietary calcium from intestines. Egg yolk, dairy products and sunlight are good source of vitamin D.
Exercise Tips To Prevent Osteoporosis:
A daily fitness regime which includes various exercises helps slow down bone loss and maintain posture and decrease the risk of falls because it improves balance and increases muscle strength. Resistance training exercises are good because they prevent bone loss and strengthen muscles. Strong muscles on bones build denser and stronger bone.
Brisk walking is an ideal weight bearing exercise which has the minimum risk of injury.
Sitting Knee Extension:
Sit with your back straight and tie a stretch band around the ankle, now slowly straighten one knee while lifting your heel a few inches from the floor, repeat this eight to ten times for three sets. This exercise strengthens thigh muscles.
Place a small wet towel on the floor and curl it towards the toes. Repeat this exercise five times.
Put a stretch band around the upper part of your foot and hold the ends in both hands, now pull the upper part of your foot and feel the stretch at the calf muscle. Repeat this exercise five times.
Wrist And Forearm Exercises:
Rest your forearm on the table top with your hand over the end of the table. Hold a stretch band with your palm facing upwards. Move wrist up and down eight to ten times for two sets. Now repeat the same exercise with your palm facing downwards.
Hold a rubber band around your fingers and thumb, now spread your fingers and thumb apart, hold and return to starting position. Repeat till your fingers get tired.
Sit straight, put the band under your foot holding it in one hand. Lift the band up with a bend elbow and feel the stretch at the bicep muscle. Repeat ten times each with both the hands.
Exercise for lower back:
Lie on the back with bent knees. Tighten the abdomen muscles and push the pelvis down to the floor, hold for five seconds and return back. Repeat the exercise for five times.
Osteoporosis can be prevented by integrating the strengthening exercise and fitness regime in our daily routine and taking a regular and adequate amount of calcium.
Discuss Your View:
What are your views and tips to prevent osteoporosis by indulging in a regular fitness regime? Share your views by putting your comments on the topic.
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