Osteoporosis – Causes, Prevention and Living with it.


  A few weeks back close family member was diagnosed with osteoporosis, which made we start researching about the causes of it and what can people diagnosed with osteoporosis do to adapt to the new condition.  



Definition and meaning of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is defined as a bone disease, which happens when you loose to much bone, make too little bone or both. {?}

 As a result, the bones become very weak and fragile, and even a minor fall, or bumping into furniture can cause a fracture.{?}       

Bone spongy structure, normal and with osteoporosis

  The meaning of osteoporosis is “porous bones.” When you look at healthy bones under microscope, parts of them look like a honeycomb. {?}

 Unlike them, for person with osteoporosis the holes and spaces of the honeycomb look much bigger than they are in a healthy bone.{?}

 That means that the bones has lost their density or mass and that their structure has become abnormal. {?}

 Furthermore, they become weaker and are more prone to braking, even due to a little pressure. {?}  

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is usually called a silent disease, because a person cannot feel the weakening of the bones. {?}

 The most common first signs are height loss, curving of the spine and bone fracture that occurs easier than expected. {?}

 Therefore, whenever you notice any of these signs, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider. Osteoporosis is very common disease. {?}

Studies show that 1 in 3 woman and 1 in 5 man of age 50 and over will break a bone due to osteoporosis. {?}

 The most common bone breaks are the ones in the hip, spine and wrist, but other bones can break as well.   {?}

Causes and risk factors of osteoporosis

Bones are one of the tissues that are in constant renewal. Old bone is being broken down and new is being made. 

In young people, the body makes the new bone much faster than it breaks down the old bone, thus the bone mass increases. 

 As people get older, the breaking down of bone tissue gets faster than the making of the new one.   

 The likeliness of developing osteoporosis mostly depends of the amount of bone mass that a person attained in the youth (most people reach the peak of bone mass in their early 20s).   

 The more bone mass a person attained in the youth, the less likely it is that that person will develop osteoporosis.   

 The likelihood of developing osteoporosis is increased by many factors, some of which are out of persons control, and others that can be managed.   

 Sex – Woman are more likely to develop osteoporosis than man. {?}

 Age – The older you get, the likelihood of developing osteoporosis increases. {?}

 Race – Studies show that people of white and Asian heritage have greater risk of developing osteoporosis. {?}

 Family history – Having a parent diagnosed with osteoporosis increases the likelihood of you developing the same disease. {?}

 Body size – Shorter people have greater risk of developing osteoporosis, due to the fact that they have less bone mass. {?}

 Sex hormones – Lowered sex hormones (especially in woman after menopause and certain cancer treatments, and treatments for prostate cancer in man) increases the chances of developing osteoporosis. {?}

 Eating disorders – People with anorexia nervosa (because of the low food intake, including calcium rich food) are at greater risk of having osteoporosis.{?

 Excessive alcohol use – Drinking more that 2 alcoholic beverages a day increases the chances of osteoporosis. {?}

 Tobacco use – Tobacco use weakens the bones, and thus contributes to developing osteoporosis. {?}

Sedentary life style – People who are less physically active are more likely to develop osteoporosis than people who exercise. {?}

osteoporosis. health problems. medicine in medical infographics. elements and icons for design. concept. illness illustration.  

Prevention of osteoporosis

Preventing osteoporosis, or at least lowering the chances of developing the disease, involves two essential factors: proper diet and exercise.   


 Proper diet includes consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D which are necessary nutrients for creating new bone cells. 

 Calcium is necessary for cell production, and vitamin D is aiding in the absorption of calcium by the body.

 If the body is not provided with enough vitamin D, no matter the amount of consumed calcium, only small part of it will be absorbed by the body. 

 The recommended daily dosage of calcium, for people older than 50, is 1,200 mg, while the optimal dosage of vitamin D is not yet known. 

 although a good starting point is considered to be 600-800 IU (International Units).  

 The best sources of calcium are:   

 Dairy products – milk, cheese, yogurt 

 Dark leafy greens – spinach, kale 


 Vitamin D is the only vitamin that can be produced by the body with the help of sunlight, but when it comes to food, good sources of vitamin D are:   

  • Cow’s milk
  •  Fish – salmon, sardines, tuna 
  •  Eggs 
  • Mushroom 

 In case you can’t get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet, take into consideration using supplements so you can provide your body with the adequate amount. 

 But before you start taking supplements, I would recommend consulting your physician. 

 He/She would know the proper dosage you need of both nutrients.

 Avoid taking these supplements on your own, because this way you will risk taking too much of them. {?}

 which will only cause you more problems, rather than solving the one you are trying to avoid. 

 Too much calcium is connected with causing heart disease and kidney stone, and vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium and elevating its blood levels (hypercalcemia), {?}

which can lead to the health problems mentioned before.   

 Furthermore, there are some kind of foods that should be avoided or consumed in moderation for they are known to reduce the calcium intake by the body.   

 Beans (Legumes) contain substances called phytates, which are interfering with the ability of the body to absorb calcium. 

 Because of this, it is recommended to soak the beans in water a couple hours prior to their cooking and than cook them in fresh water. 

 This will result with lowering the level of phytates in the beans. 

Phytates are also contained in 100% wheat bran, therefore when you eat cereals with wheat bran and milk, only small amount of the calcium from the milk will be absorbed. 

 That is why it is recommended to eat calcium rich food or take calcium supplements 2 hours before or after consuming food that contains 100% wheat bran.   

 Salty foods (food with added salt, canned food, processed food) should also be avoided because salt causes the body to lose calcium, which can lead to bone loss.   

 Food that is rich calcium, but is also high in oxalates, like spinach and beet greens, when eaten raw should not be counted as a source of calcium, since the oxalic acid prevents the body’s absorption of calcium. 

 To avoid this, try cooking these vegetables, since the cooking process lowers the amount of oxalic acid.   

 Caffeinated drinks, such coffee and teas, should be consumed in moderation, because caffeine decreases the absorption of calcium.   

Alcohol drinks also should be consumed into moderation, less than 2 drinks per day, because it can lead to bone loss.  

Exercise of osteoporosis

Exercising is highly beneficial, not only for preventing osteoporosis, but for the overall health as well. {?}

 When it comes to preventing osteoporosis, the kind of exercise that is promoting building strong bones and lowers the loss of bone are weight-training, weight-bearing and balance exercise. 

 Weight-training includes doing exercises with weights, resistance bands and your own body weight, while weight-bearing exercises are walking, running, stairs climbing, dancing, playing tennis. 

These exercises are increasing the bone density, thus strengthening the bones, and muscles as well. 

 Balance and stability exercises help the muscles work together, keeping you more stable and reducing your chances to fall. Good choice for balance exercises are yoga and tai chi.   

 Exercise is beneficial for the bones no matter when you start (you can even start after being diagnosed with osteoporosis), 

 although the younger you start and the more regularly you exercise the greater the benefit will be.   

 Woman exercising with dumbbells insured by physiotherapist, osteoporosis   

Living with osteoporosis

After being diagnosed with osteoporosis there are a couple things that should be taken into consideration, because the bones now are very fragile, and even a small pressure can cause a fracture. 

Furthermore, if a bone gets broaken it will be really hard to heal, and the healing process can last for months. 

 Therefore, consider making the following changes in your life-style and take extra precautions to decrease the chances of getting a fracture.   

 First and foremost, a change in diet is necessary, so follow the instructions noted by your physician, and try to include or avoid the certain foods mentioned before in this article, so you can consume the adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D.   

 Also, you should lower the caffeine intake, or give it all up if you want, as well as eliminate alcohol intake and cigarette smoking.   

 In addition to this, try to incorporate a little exercise into your daily habits. 

As I said before, it’s never to late to start exercising. 

 Therefore, if you decide to start exercising, consult your physician, and in order to lower and avoid the risk of getting hurt, get a help from professional physical therapist or professional personal trainer and follow their recommendation and guidelines.    

 After the diagnosis, depending on the severity of the disease, you should be very careful and try to minimize the chances of falling, because it can lead to fracture.

Here are some tips:  for ostrioporosis


  • Wear low-heal non-slippery shoes;


  • If you have corded phone, replace it with cordless and check the house for electrical cords; 


  •  Keep rooms brightly lit; 


  •  Clear the hallways and stairs and remove all things that can trip you; 


  •  Use non-slip mats in your bathroom and bathtub; 


  •  Put grab bars in the bathroom and on the stairs wall; 


  •  Avoid walking in socks or slippers; 


  •  If you have to, use cane or walker; 


  •  Don’t rush. Be careful when you are walking outside and especially if you have to get on the curb;
  • Avoid spots on the street or curb that are wet or icy.


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