How to combat osteoporosis
–By Dr. Gerd Mueller, Chairman and Managing Director, Aktivortho™
Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” – bones that were once strong has now become fragile. This insidious disease is often referred to as the “silent thief” as it quietly takes away bone strength. To combat the disease, Dr. Gerd Mueller, Chairman and Managing Director, Aktivortho™ tells the symptoms, prevention and treatment for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease in which the continuous interplay of bone formation and bone resorption is disturbed. Resorption predominates, causing bones to become progressively weaker. Osteoporosis is especially common among women after menopause (after the age of 50). Among men it occurs much less frequently. With estimate figures of over 25% of country’s population suffering from osteoporosis, it becomes an absolute necessity to understand that what it takes to be on the other side of the coin.
In India, majority believes that Osteoporosis is hereditary and it requires a surgical approach to cope up. Whereas, one has to understand that a pro-active and optimistic approach may help you to stay healthy and fit. Also non-surgical or non-invasive treatments and proper rehabilitation can also do miracles if you are suffering from Osteoporosis.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Individual factors are often responsible: genetic predisposition, very low or high body weight, and age. In addition, an unhealthy lifestyle (tobacco, alcohol, lack of exercise), vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency, oestrogen deficiency and various drugs (especially thyroid hormones and cortisone) can contribute to the development of the disease. Acidosis – an excess of acid in the body – is another factor that impairs bone stability.
Osteoporosis is also referred to as a silent disease with the 1st noticeable symptom being a bone fracture. Other symptoms include back pain, loss of height with a stooped posture, fragility of bones leading to fracture, vertebral/spine fracture, hip fracture, wrist and other bone fracture.
A sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, poor balance and weak muscles increase the risk of fractures. A sedentary lifestyle also encourages loss of bone mass.
Prevention is better than cure
Stopping smoking should be a priority for anyone interested in enjoying a longer life and keeping away from orthopaedic wards. Alcohol consumption should also be kept within safe limits. For prevention, one should focus on two main factors: a good, healthy diet and sufficient exercise. A balanced diet which includes the right amount and type of protein, calcium, good sources of Vitamin D and food sources which can reduce acidity and inflammation in the body can go a long way to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
metabolic balance®, a revolutionary nutrition program from Germany amalgamates all the characteristics of a balanced diet which help to lower the risk of continued bone degeneration. Inclusion of egg yolk (a good source of vitamin D) in the metabolic balance diet and recommending one protein at a time for better protein absorption helps reduce acid formation in the body thus preventing the loss of bone density.
A calcium rich diet is an important component of managing osteoporosis well. Calcium is particularly good for the bones. An adequate intake of calcium in the young will help them achieve a peak of bone mass and in the elderly it helps to reduce age-related bone loss. Experts recommend that one gram of calcium should be eaten everyday (1 gram = 1000 milligrams). The best sources of calcium are to be found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.
Since bone is a dynamic living tissue that gets stronger when stressed and weaker when not used, physically active people generally have higher BMD at all ages than people who are sedentary. Weight-bearing exercise and strength training are most effective at increasing or maintaining bone mass. During weight-bearing exercise like walking, running, dancing, or stair climbing, muscular and gravitational forces stress bone. Strength training increases the amount of force that muscles exert on bones.
Even if you already have osteoporosis, exercising can help maintain the bone mass you have. Exercise provides a powerful stimulus which induces bones to incorporate calcium for greater stability. Experts believe that supervised weight bearing exercises and strength training exercises are safe and effective to prevent the loss of bone mass.
Treatment for osteoporosis
The goals of managing osteoporosis are to decrease pain, prevent fractures, and minimize further bone loss. Some of the methods used to treat osteoporosis are also the methods to help prevent it from developing, including the following:
- Maintain an appropriate body weight.
- Increase walking and other weight-bearing exercises.
- Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain an adequate intake of calcium through diet and supplements.