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Osteoporosis

Living with Osteoporosis

Bone is made up of two types of tissue.

First there is a protein network which forms the structure for the bone.

Secondly, there are calcium salts which reinforce the protein network to give the bone its strength.

Osteoporosis is a condition where both the protein network and the calcium salts are deficient. This makes the bone softer. There may be very few symptoms until about one-third of the bone strength is lost, and then pain occurs due to distortion and fracture of the bone. Because it is hard to replace bone that is lost, prevention is key. Beginning a lifelong commitment to exercise and healthy nutrition while you are still young will reduce your risk of developing this condition later in life. Remember, you are never too young to think about preventing osteoporosis.

Exercise increases bone mass before menopause and helps to reduce bone loss after menopause.

Bone strength increases with regular exercise

to help prevent bone loss weight bearing exercise such as walking, low-impact aerobics, or tennis work best.

Growing bone is especially sensitive to the impact of weight and pull of muscle during exercise, and responds by building stronger, denser bones. That's why it's especially important when you're growing a lot to be physically active on a regular basis.And as far as bone is concerned, impact activity like jumping up and down appears to be the best. "But the important thing is to get off the couch and get moving at some activity. It really is a matter of 'Use it now, or lose it later'."Such activities include sports and exercise, including:

football, basketball, baseball, jogging, dancing, jumping rope, inline skating, skateboarding, bicycling, ballet, hiking, skiing, karate, swimming, rowing a canoe, bowling, and weight-training. And when you mow the lawn, rake leaves, or wash and wax the car, you're doing your muscles and bones a favour.

"Day-to-day activities that start in the teen years, like walking the dog or using stairs instead of lifts, can become life-long habits for healthy bones."

An adequate calcium intake is essential in the prevention of osteoporosis. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seafood. Most women get only about half of the calcium they need everyday so taking a calcium supplement is often advisable. The best form of calcium for preventing bone loss is calcium carbonate. If you choose to use supplements it's important that you understand that the body can only absorb up to 750 mg of calcium at one time, so you will need to divide your dose if the amount of calcium supplement you take exceeds that amount.

Vitamin D is necessary for the body to absorb calcium--milk that is fortified with Vitamin D is one of the best sources. Sunlight also is an excellent source of Vitamin D being in the sun for just 15 minutes a day helps the body produce and activate Vitamin D.

It is usually in the spine, which carries the major weight load. One or more vertebrae of the spine may collapse completely, giving acute pain and later shortening of the spine. The deformity is responsible for some cases of so-called dowager's hump.

Wrist and hip fractures are more likely to occur in people with osteoporosis, especially in patients beyond the age of 65. They are mostly brought about by a minor fall or injury, which alone would not cause fractures in otherwise healthy people

There are two main categories of osteoporosis,Type I and Type II.

Type I osteoporosis occurs only in post-menopausal women, and is due to oestrogen deficiency.

Type II osteoporosis occurs in both men and women (about two times more frequently in women), and is due to ageing, and calcium deficiency over many years.

What causes osteoporosis?

Both men and women achieve their "peak bone mass" in their 30's and after that point in time, their bone mass gradually, but steadily decreases. In pregnant and lactating women the rate of bone loss will temporarily increase if the increased calcium demands are not met by dietary intake. In women, there is also a significant decrease of bone mass in the immediate postmenopausal period. As people age, the rate of bone loss tends to slow, but it continues to decrease. Therefore, age and sex are the two most important factors in determining who is at risk of developing osteoporosis.  Other important factors that can contribute to developing osteoporosis include various medications, and a sedentary lifestyle.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis most commonly is found either on routine examination, or following a fracture. X-rays usually show a generalised loss of bone density.

When screening for osteoporosis, or trying to detect the early stages of the disease, the most useful test is called bone densiometry, or DEXA scan. While these tests do require special equipment, they are safe, expose the patient to minimal radiation, and are very useful in detecting the early stages of osteoporosis.
Treatment for Osteoporosis The primary goal of treatment of osteoporosis is to reduce the risk of fractures. The three mainstays of treatment are: exercise, calcium, and medications.

Exercise is important to maintain healthy bones. Individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle have much weaker bones and a subjected to a much higher risk of sustaining fractures. Strenuous activity is not necessary. rather simple, easy forms of exercise such as walking are the most beneficial for patients with osteoporosis.

Calcium supplement is important to ensure intake is at least 1500 mg every day.

The most important pharmacological treatment to prevent osteoporosis is hormone (oestrogen) replacement therapy (HRT). Oestrogen not only helps maintain, but it can even increase bone mass after menopause. Many studies have shown the benefits of HRT, including a lower risk of fracturing bones.

Alcohol and Bone Health The negative effects of alcohol consumption on bone have long been recognised. Chronic heavy drinking has been identified as a significant risk factor for various diseases, including osteopo

Exercising to prevent and live with Osteoporosis

Bone is made up of two types of tissue. First there is a protein network which forms the structure for the bone. Secondly, there are calcium salts which reinforce the protein network to give the bone its strength. Osteoporosis is a condition where both the protein network and the calcium salts are deficient.

This makes the bone softer. There may be very few symptoms until about one-third of the bone strength is lost, and then pain occurs due to distortion & fracture of the bone.

It is usually in the spine, which carries the major weight load. One or more vertebrae of the spine may collapse completely, giving acute pain and later shortening of the spine. The deformity is responsible for some cases of so-called dowager's hump.

Wrist and hip fractures are more likely to occur in people with osteoporosis, especially in patients beyond the age of 65. They are mostly brought about by a minor fall or injury, which alone would not cause fractures in otherwise healthy people

There are two main categories of osteoporosis, Type I and Type II.

Type I osteoporosis occurs only in post-menopausal women, and is due to oestrogen deficiency.

Type II osteoporosis occurs in both men and women (about two times more frequently in women), and is due to ageing, and calcium deficiency over many years.

What causes osteoporosis ?

Both men and women achieve their "peak bone mass" in their 30's and after that point in time, their bone mass gradually, but steadily decreases. In pregnant and lactating women the rate of bone loss will temporarily increase if the increased calcium demands are not met by dietary intake. In women, there is also a significant decrease of bone mass in the immediate postmenopausal period. As people age, the rate of bone loss tends to slow, but it continues to decrease. Therefore, age and sex are the two most important factors in determining who is at risk of developing osteoporosis.

Other important factors that can contribute to developing osteoporosis include various medications, and a sedentary lifestyle. 

Treatment for Osteoporosis The primary goal of treatment of osteoporosis is to reduce the risk of fractures.

The three mainstays of treatment are:

exercise, calcium, and medications.

Exercise is important to maintain healthy bones. Individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle have much weaker bones and a subjected to a much higher risk of sustaining fractures.

Strenuous activity is not necessary. rather simple, easy forms of exercise such as walking are the most beneficial for patients with osteoporosis.

Uncomfortable joints when exercising - how to ease the discomfort

It's important to maintain your fitness as you get older, and enjoy the joie de vivre that comes with exercise. However, it can sometimes be difficult to exercise if you experience pain in your joints.

So is there anything you can do to help?

People young and old can experience joint pain when exercising. It's usually caused by inflammation which inhibits ease pf movement and causes pain. Any inflammation that is continuous should be treated. Inflammation causes the cells to work overtime to heal and sometimes the process goes wrong causing further health problems.

Inflammation can be tackled by eating foods that contain the nutrients that help to reduce it. There are a number of nutrients that help inflammation, and Vitamin E and Selenium are particularly good. You can find these in seed oils, almonds, sunflower seeds and spinach, and brazil nuts are an especially good source of selenium.

Alternatively you may choose to take a supplement that provide these nutrients, or a general purpose joint-relieving supplement available at most health food shops.

What your nails say about your health

Brittle, Flaky nails Your nail bed is dehydrated and/or you have poor circulation. Try to drink more water to hydrate your whole body. Wear rubber gloves for cleaning to protect your nails from harsh detergents and rub nourishing cream into nails and cuticles. Avoid nail polish remover with acetone as this can dry nails further. Try boosting circulation with aerobic exercise, and the herb gingko biloba can increase blood circulation in the extremities.

Soft, bendy nails Not enough calcium, protein and essential fats in the diet. Increase your nutrients by eating more calcium-rich dairy products and green vegetables, more protein such as chicken or fish and more nuts and seeds for essential fatty acids. Supplements may help such as Vitamin H (Biotin) which increases nail thickness. The mineral silica is also a good nail strengthener.

White spot Zinc deficiency or injury to nail base. Eat plenty of zinc-rich foods such as shellfish, meat and wholegrains. Zinc can become depleted through stress, so take measures to counter stress and your nails should improve.

Horizontal ridges Lack of B vitamins. Increase your B vitamin intake with lost of wholegrains, and vegetables. Supplements may be useful in this situation.

Vertical Ridges Occur with age, but can indicate a lack of stomach acid. Eat foods plentiful in digestive enzymes such as papaya and pineapple.

Ragged Cuticles 'Hang nails' Deficiency in vitamin C, folic acid or protein, or simply that you bite them! Take a multi-vitamin and eat lots of protein - chicken, meat, fish. Apply a nourishing cream. If you are a biter try a bitter-tasting varnish to stop yourself biting.

Discoloured Nails ellowish staining from cigarettes. If you don't smoke may be a liver problem. Thick white nails may indicate a fungal infection. Visit your doctor is you have yellow nails and don't smoke. Treat a fungal infection with a cream from your pharmacist.

Pale / concave nail bed Indicate anaemia. Eat lots of iron-rich foods such as red meat and dark green vegetables, or take an iron suppleme