Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” and is a condition that affects bone strength. When we are younger, bone formation exceeds bone loss but as we age, this process reverses and bones become less strong and dense; this leads to osteoporosis. Women are more commonly affected especially after menopause when oestrogen levels decrease, however some men are affected as well. Osteoporosis causes fragile and brittle bones which are more prone to fracture.

Risk factors

  • inadequate dietary calcium intake
  • women that go through menopause before age 45
  • family history of osteoporosis
  • low vitamin D levels
  • cigarette smoking
  • low body mass index ie. being underweight
  • steroid treatment
  • sedentary lifestyle- lack of physical activity
  • excess alcohol intake of more than 2 standard drinks a day
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Metabolic syndrome

    Symptoms

    • bone fracture after a minor injury
    • loss of height, persistent back pain- indicate fractured vertebrae

      Dietary & Lifestyle Advice

      • exercise- strength training and weight bearing exercise eg. brisk walking, dancing, running, aerobics, etc.
      • calcium in the form of milk, kale, almonds, okra, dried apricots and figs
      • vitamin D supplementation or safe sunlight exposure for vitamin D absorption
      • smoking cessation and avoiding alcohol
      • preventing falls by checking the home for hazards like uneven floors, rugs, etc.
      • hip protectors that are worn over the hips to cushion the hips in case of a fall
      • limiting caffeine intake