Osteoporosis is the name of a condition wherein our body is not able to keep up with the demand for new tissues for our bones. Since bone is a living tissue that constantly breaks down and is being replaced, it is essential that our body keeps up with the demand. People who have osteoporosis have weak and brittle bones that have a risk of breaking even with the slightest of pressure. The most common fractures noted in patients with osteoporosis are the hip, wrist, and spine.
An endocrinologist doctor can prescribe medications, a healthy diet, and weight-bearing exercises to build up bone strength and prevent bone loss. The symptoms for osteoporosis may not show early on in the condition and generally include severe back pain, loss of height, stooped posture and collapsed vertebra.
If you have experienced early menopause or consumed corticosteroids for a prolonged period of time, you should think about consulting with an endocrinologist doctor.
How is osteoporosis caused?
To understand the causes of osteoporosis, it is essential to first understand the structure and system of bone renewal. When we are young, our bodies create new bone faster compared to its breakdown, and this leads to an increase in our bone mass. As we get older, the formation of new bone slows down, and we reach peak bone mass by our late 20s. It is also vital to note that the likelihood of developing osteoporosis will partly depend on the bone mass you have attained in your youth. The more bone mass you have, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis in your old age.
Apart from the bone mass, there are several other factors that can affect the likelihood of you getting osteoporosis, such as sex, age, race, family history, body frame size, and more. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis compared to men, and the chances of getting osteoporosis increase manifold as you age. Having a history of osteoporosis in the family can also impact the likelihood of you getting it.
Another significant factor that increases the risk of an individual getting osteoporosis is lowered sex hormones. A decrease in estrogen levels in women at the time of menopause poses a great risk for them. Similarly, treatments for various forms of cancer, such as prostate cancer, can reduce the levels of testosterone in men leading to an increased risk of getting osteoporosis. An increase in thyroid levels can also lead to bone loss which can later lead to osteoporosis.
Other factors that can cause osteoporosis-
- Medications- Certain medications, especially steroids, used in treating seizures, gastric reflux, cancer, and transplant rejection can interfere with our bone-rebuilding process causing osteoporosis.
- Medical conditions- People with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney diseases, liver diseases, cancer, multiple myeloma, and rheumatoid arthritis are also at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle choices- People who consume excessive alcohol, have a sedentary lifestyle, and consume tobacco are also ata greater risk.
How to prevent osteoporosis?
There are several ways to avoid developing osteoporosis later in life such as-
- Increase in calcium intake- An average person needs between 1000-1200 mg of calcium a day. This is why it is imperative to ensure you diet has, leafy vegetables, soy products and calcium-fortified cereals, orange juice, salmon or sardines with bones.
- Consuming vitamin D- Since vitamin D increases the body’s capability to absorb calcium, it is essential to maintain the required levels to improve bone health. You can increase your levels of vitamin D by consuming substances rich in vitamin D or increase your exposure to the sun.
- Regularly exercising- Exercising is a great way to increase your bone health. You can opt for weight bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, and such to help build stronger bones.
Osteoporosis can develop in anybody and can make life for that individually extremely difficult. If you have any symptoms or are flagged under any of the causes, you must consult with an endocrinologist doctor at the earliest.