Osteoporosis is defined as the rapid loss of bone mass that occurs during aging. This disease causes a decrease in the absorption of minerals and calcium .
Three out of four patients are women. It mainly affects women who are postmenopausal.
The fragility of bones in women is caused by the absence of the female hormone estrogen, which makes them porous, like a sponge. It is a major cause of fractures and falls in the elderly.
Main risk factors for Osteoporosis
- White skin;
- Family history of osteoporosis;
- Sedentary lifestyle;
- Low intake of calcium and / or vitamin D ;
- Smoking or drinking excessively;
- Medications such as anticonvulsants, thyroid hormone, glocorticoids, and heparin;
- Underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, leukemia, and lymphoma.
The places most affected by this disease are the spine, the wrist and the neck of the femur, the latter being the most dangerous.
It is considered the second biggest health problem in the world , only behind cardiovascular diseases.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
In addition to broken bones and decreased bone mass, it can cause the following symptoms:
- Chronic pain;
- Loss of quality of life and / or the development of other diseases such as pneumonia;
- Vertebral fractures, leading to gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.
Hip fractures can result in immobilization of the patient, and require long-term nursing care.
It is usually diagnosed only after the onset of the first fall, as the symptoms are not noticeable.
The main method for the diagnosis of osteoporosis is bone densitometry . This test measures the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and femur.
The result is divided into three classifications: normal, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.
Tests Needed to Detect Osteoporosis
A common problem in postmenopausal women, osteoporosis is the reduction of bone mass, with changes in its microstructure. This disease makes the patient’s bone structure more fragile, increasing the probability of fractures, which can have serious consequences.
However, osteoporosis is a silent disease that often progresses without symptoms . Regular medical follow-up can help you identify it and start treatment as soon as possible.
Bone mass densitometry (BMD)
The current gold standard for the diagnosis of osteoporosis is bone densitometry. It measures the extent of bone mass to determine the risk of fracture-prone patients , helping to identify the need for treatment. It also allows you to assess changes in bone mass over time. The test is performed using the DEXA technique – which is synonymous with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry .
The diagnosis of osteoporosis is made by evaluating the patient’s medical history, evaluating the density of the lumbar spine and the proximal femur, the femoral neck and / or the total femur and forearm, according to the criteria proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The reflected bone densitometry whether the current situation of the patient is necessary to make comparisons with previous assessments to identify the gain or loss of bone mass , identifying the evolution of the disease or the efficacy of the treatment. The interval between exams is determined by the doctor, who takes into account various criteria such as the gender and age of the patient and the precision of the technology used, among others. In general, testing is recommended with a minimum interval of one to two years .
The American companies Bone Health And Osteoporosis (BHAO) and the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recommend performing bone densitometry to:
- All women 65 years of age or older , and people who have diseases that cause bone loss;
- In menopausal or transitional women, 50 years of age or older, who present any of the following factors:
- A fracture after menopause or after age 50 (except in the skull, face, ankle, or toes);
- Thinness or BMI ≤ 21 kg / m2;
- Parents with a history of hip fracture;
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Current smokers;
- Excessive alcohol consumption (≥ three doses per day)
There are also other directions for requesting osteoporosis research tests. If you are near or have already entered menopause, see your doctor.
How to prevent osteoporosis
The prevention of osteoporosis is done by adopting healthy habits throughout life. Caution is necessary after menopause, as falling estrogen levels accelerate the loss of bone density, requiring more care to prevent the disease.
It is believed that approximately one third of postmenopausal women will develop osteoporosis. However, 80% of women in adulthood in our country are not aware of the relationship between menopause and the increase in the rates of this disease, which can cause fractures and reduce the quality of life of the patient. Therefore, you must have information about the challenges related to the arrival of this stage to guarantee health throughout life , you must adjust your habits at times when the body asks you to be more cautious.
One of the elements key to ensure bone health is the regular physical activity from an early age , allowing achieve adequate bone mass. Exercises such as walking, aerobic activities and weights contribute to slightly increasing this rate, which is maintained with the continuity of activities.
On the other hand, the care food can also make a difference in preventing osteoporosis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is important to eat foods rich in calcium , in an amount of 1000-1300 mg per day – the equivalent of about three servings of milk and dairy products. For example, a glass of milk (250 mg of calcium), a cup of yogurt (300 mg) and a slice of cheese (300 mg).
Sunbathing is an important part of the disease prevention process. The sun’s rays are necessary for the production of vitamin D , an essential substance in the maintenance of a healthy skeleton. Exposure to sunlight at the right time – in the morning and in the afternoon – can make a difference in the production of the vitamin, which can also be found in some foods and vitamin supplements.
In our country, sunbathing is not a problem – just by going outside to perform daily tasks, we are providing our skin with the necessary conditions to produce vitamin D. Therefore, it is important that older people are stay active by walking outdoors, and replenishing calcium through food and supplements when medically indicated.
Osteoporosis Treatments and Necessary Care
Current treatments for osteoporosis do not completely reverse bone loss. Since osteoporosis is often diagnosed only after the onset of the disease, one of the best strategies is considered to be preventive measures that delay or prevent the development of the disease.
To do this, during youth, maximum bone mass must be improved, to reduce losses throughout life and prevent falls . The main indications are:
- Balanced diet with attention to calcium in the diet (dairy products);
- The use of drugs with calcium and vitamin D intake;
- Moderate exposure to the sun, so that the synthesis of vitamin D occurs;
- Regular physical exercise, such as walking – which stimulates bone formation and prevents resorption;
- Hormone therapy (for women).
Foods That Help Against Osteoporosis
To mitigate the effects of osteoporosis, it is necessary to consume large amounts of calcium. For this, the following foods are indicated:
|Milk||1 cup||292 mg|
|Yoghurt||1 cup||415 mg|
|Curd||1 cup||138 mg|
|Cheese in general||28 grams||174 mg|
|Spinach (cooked)||1 cup||245 mg|
|Broccoli (cooked)||1 cup||78 mg|
|Sardines (canned)||100 g||379 mg|
|Salmon (canned)||100 g||237 mg|
|firm||1 cup||516 mg|
|regular||1 cup||260 mg|
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.