Osteoporosis: 8 Things To Know

Written by Hiland - Senior Lifestyle Expert on Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Osteoporosis affects millions of Americans aged 50 or more while millions more are at risk of serious injury but are unaware they suffer bone disease until an accident occurs.  One of the best defenses against this crippling disease is to be informed about the risks, treatments and symptoms of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones to the point they become porous and brittle. Weakened and brittle bones are prone to break easily.  However, we are not defenseless against this life-altering disease.

How many people are at risk in the US

Health experts estimate that 40 million American men and women either have the disease or are at risk due to low bone mass. In addition to the 40 million American sufferers of osteoporosis, another 23 million women and 12 million men aged 50 or older suffer a condition known as osteopenia, or weakened bones that have not yet reached the osteoporosis level. Suffers of osteopenia are prone to suffer osteoporosis unless proper therapy is addressed.

Do men suffer osteoporosis

While significantly more American women suffer osteoporosis than men, a surprising number of men over age 50 are afflicted by the painful bone disease.  Physicians recognize that female bones become thinner and weaker faster than bones of males. Due to their smaller bone structure and the decline in estrogen levels after menopause, women are at greater risk of osteoporosis than men. Yet, about 20% of the country’s osteoporosis and osteopenia suffers are male.

Is ethnicity a factor in osteoporosis

Gender and age are clearly the biggest risk factors for osteoporosis. However, researchers indicate that persons of non-Hispanic white and Asian heritage are at greater risk than persons of other ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, persons who smoke and who drink are at greater risk than those who do not.

Can diet help prevent osteoporosis

Abstaining from tobacco use and drinking less will reduce the risk of osteoporosis. However, men and women who digest foods with healthy quantities of calcium and Vitamin D are at less risk of osteoporosis than those who do not consume sufficient quantities of these ingredients. Exercise is another deterrent. The more the individual exercises, the stronger the bones will be.

How can osteoporosis be detected

Osteoporosis is usually described as a silent disease, one that patients may not know they have until a bone breaks. Physicians rely on painless screening tests to identify the existence of osteoporosis before a bone breaks. Many doctors include this screening as part of the annual review for patients over 50 years of age. The screening is designed to measure the patient’s Bone Mineral Density or BMD.

Is osteoporosis curable

Regrettably, there is no cure for osteoporosis. Physicians can offer guidance to help prevent broken bones but osteoporosis prevention is the most effective means to avoid this serious bone disease.  Diet, exercise and supplements can help prevent osteoporosis.  Walking, climbing stairs and weight bearing fitness exercises are effective deterrents. Of course, implementing safety discipline to prevent falls can help sufferers avoid serious complications.

Are there medications for osteoporosis sufferers

Many physicians prescribe bisphosphonates to strengthen bones and discourage osteoporosis.  Some physicians recommend regular injections into the patient’s veins to ease risk and boost bone strength. Doctors can also prescribe other medications for bone health.

Osteoporosis poses serious risks for seniors. In fact, 50% of women aged 50 or more and 25% of men of the same age will break a bone due to osteoporosis. The usual cause is a fall but osteoporosis can lead bones to break during the course of normal daily activities. Have you had your screening for osteoporosis screening this year?