Bone Up on Osteoporosis
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease of progressive bone loss associated with an increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a major health problem, affecting more than 44 million Americans and contributing to an estimated 2 million bone fractures per year. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the number of fractures due to this disease may rise to over 3 million by the year 2025. One in two women and one in four men older than 50 years will sustain bone fractures caused by osteoporosis. Many of these are painful fractures of the hip, spine, wrist, arm, and leg.
How Does Osteoporosis Happen?
Major factors that can lead to the disease:
- Age. After 35, the body builds less new bone to replace the loss of old bone.
- Heredity. A family history of fractures; a small, slender body build.
- Poor nutrition. A low calcium diet, low body weight.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Smoking and excessive alcohol use.
To prevent osteoporosis, slow its progression, and protect from fractures, a diet with adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D helps to prevent the disease, slow its progression and further bone loss. A program of moderate, regular exercise, 3 to 4 times a week, is effective for the prevention and management of osteoporosis including weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, hiking, climbing stairs, dancing, and weight lifting. The orthopedic specialists at DOC combine a complete medical history, physical examination, skeletal x-rays, bone densitometry, and specialized laboratory tests to diagnose osteoporosis. If the orthopedists diagnose low bone mass, he or she may want to perform additional tests to rule out the possibility of other diseases that can cause bone loss. An orthopedist is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and nonsurgical and surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.
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