Osteoporosis is a common bone disease in which bones become weak and brittle, causing an increased risk of fracture, which happens when too much bone is lost and/or too little is made. In more severe osteoporosis, a minor bump or sneeze may also cause a bone breakage and even though the cases of osteoporosis are rising at a rapid rate in the country, there are many misconceptions related to this condition.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sarang Deshpande, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals in Mira Road, answered some of the frequently answered questions related to osteoporosis and aimed to clear all your doubts:
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is called a “silent” disease as it may go unnoticed completely until an incident fracture of a bone. Fractures tend to occur in the spine, wrist, or hip. Once a bone fracture can be very painful and takes a long time to heal. The red flags of this condition are a gradual loss in height because of compressed vertebrae, resulting in a stooped posture, continuous back pain from collapsed or fractured vertebrae or other bone pain, and frequent fractures. Generalised weakness and low-grade continuous pain are often present in patients suffering from osteoporosis.
What are the causes of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis happens due to a combination of factors that lower bone density. Are you aware? Bone density usually peaks between the ages of 18 and 25 years. As age advances, bone density declines. The rate of decline depends on gender, nutrition, level of activities and any comorbidities like Diabetes Mellitus, hypothyroidism, etc.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
Being above 50, lack of calcium and other minerals in the diet, not doing any physical activity, women after menopause and men with low testosterone are at higher risk, no sun exposure, having celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Even taking certain medications, smoking, alcohol, being underweight, and having previous fractures can cause osteoporosis.
How to prevent osteoporosis?
Do at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing physical activity to strengthen the bones. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat foods such as milk, yoghurt, almonds, broccoli, figs, salmon, and tofu. Eat potassium-rich foods like apricots, bananas, oranges, prunes, and sweet potatoes. Cut down on salt intake. Say NO to carbonated beverages. Water is the best fluid to drink as it will help you to eliminate toxins from the body. Expose your arms and face to the sun for at least half an hour each day to make the bones stronger. Avoid smoking and alcohol to manage bone health.