Osteoporosis is a bone density disease that can cause a thinning and weakening of the bones. This disease most commonly affects women of advanced age, typically onsetting in the first few years of menopause. While it is most common in women, it can also affect men and even children in rare cases. The most common symptom of Osteoporosis is bone breaks due to the deterioration of the bone. These breaks are characterized by their severity in relation to the situation that caused the break. Unprompted breaks without proper impact or a break caused by very minimal contact may be due to the low bone density of Osteoporosis. Hip breaks alone account for more than 300,000 hospitalizations yearly.
Other than gender, there are many factors that contribute to the development and severity of Osteoporosis. Some are predisposed, while others can be controlled throughout the lifetime.
- Health of lifestyle: Eating habits and lifestyle choices (smoking, steroids, etc.)
- Genetics: Some risk may be hereditary
- Lack of exercise and strength development
- Lack of proper weight and nutrition
Avoiding a Break
The easiest ways to prevent a break from happening are to work on strengthening the bone and the muscles surrounding the bone. Specialized exercises and movements can begin to rebuild the structure of lost bone and work to prevent the rapid loss of more bone.
Physical therapists can also work to improve spinal posture and balance to lower risk of falls, as well as increase mobility in the case a lack of balance occurs. Preventing falls can avoid bone risk situations all together.
For more advanced prevention exercises, physical therapists can move on to resistance and weighted training. These exercises will further strengthen bone and better prepare the body to remain stable and secure when walking and moving.
While most of these exercises are used to help prevent a break, they can also be extremely effective in helping to recover and regain strength after a break had occurred.
Can Osteoporosis be Prevented?
There are some intentional ways the onset of Osteoporosis can be slowed or prevented in earlier life. Keeping an active lifestyle and committing to an exercise routine throughout younger live and adulthood can lend itself to maintaining the density and strength of the bone. Keeping active also help prevent the loss of bone as we age.
Smart lifestyle choices can also impact the risk of bone deterioration. Habits such as smoking or steroid use can lead to the bones losing density and becoming brittle at more accelerated rates.
Eating and drinking habits can also greatly impact bone strength later in life. Vitamin D and calcium contribute to bone strength and growth during development. Eating a diet saturated with these can help build and maintain well developed bone into later years.
Finally, health and weight during critical developmental periods can greatly impact bone health later in life. For example, someone being underweight during growth spurts, can cause underdevelopment and weakness in the bone grown during that period.