The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that “around 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.” Research also indicates that approximately one in every two women and up to one in four men age 50 years and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. These injuries often lead to serious complications, and in fact, twenty percent of seniors who break a hip die within one year of surgery and many others require long-term care.
The Mayo Clinic reports that osteoporosis-related fractures occur most commonly in the hip, wrist or spine. They explain that our bones are made up of living tissues that is “constantly being broken down and replaced.” The disease occurs when the creation of new bone is not keeping up with the removal of old bone. As we age, bone replacement slows down and our overall bone mass is reduced faster than we can recreate it.
The bones of people suffering from the disease become increasingly more brittle to the point that a mild fall may cause a broken bone. In the most severe cases of osteoporosis, a fracture can occur from even movements such as coughing or bending over. The disease affects both men and women, although women are much more likely to get it and older white and Asian women (especially those post-menopausal) are at the highest risk.
There are a number of health problems, medicines, and life-style choices that can increase your chance of getting osteoporosis. These include autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis, breast and prostate cancer, endocrine/hormonal disorders including diabetes, a poor diet, and smoking among other factors.
A painless test is used to measure bone density and to determine the proportion of mineral in your bones. To treat osteoporosis, patients at the highest risk are often prescribed different types of medications. For others at a lower risk, they are advised to eat a healthy diet, quit smoking and to engage in weight-bearing exercises.
This post is intended for informational purposes only. Before you begin any physical exercise, please contact your health care provider.
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