What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone growth disease. It causes either too much or too
little bone growth, which in turn makes bones brittle. Extreme cases can
mean that actions like bumping into a table or sneezing can cause bone
fractures. Bones are naturally porous, but osteoporosis increases the
porous structures in bones—this makes them easy to break.
Osteoporosis affects over 10 million people in the United States today.
It’s a common ailment of aging and elderly populations, and it often
causes numerous health complications in conjunction with other issues,
like poor balance or posture. It also raises health costs—one study
found that osteoporosis patients spend an additional $10,000 on care for
the 6 months following a fracture.
However, while there is no cure, there are simple and easy ways to prevent
osteoporosis, or perhaps even ease its effects if you already have been
diagnosed. Here are 3 easy ways to prevent osteoporosis from weakening
#1: Train with Weights
Exercise or moderate movement of any kind is good for your body, particularly
your skeleton. Weight training in particular is an effective way to strengthen
your skeleton. Using weights causes your muscles to pull on your bones.
bone growth cells, increasing both density and flexibility.
Flexible bones are as important as dense ones—a little bit of flex
keeps bones from breaking. Dynamic movements are best for this. Compound
lifts such as lunges and squats, or simply moving while wearing a weighted
vest, creates strong bones that will remain healthy and unbroken in the long run.
#2: Get Vitamin D Regularly
Many people know that skeletons are made of calcium, so we know to drink
plenty of milk and eat vegetables in order to get it. However, what many
do not realize is that calcium requires vitamin D in order to be absorbed
into the bloodstream. For that reason, ingesting a little vitamin D with
every calcium boost can increase its effectiveness.
While milk and fortified juice contain vitamin D, you can also get it from
about 10 minutes of sunlight. You don’t need very much—physicians
recommend only about 25 micrograms of it per day to be effective.
#3: Take Up Tai Chi (or Yoga)
Exercise like tai chi or yoga increase strength, flexibility, and balance.
These are all crucial to preventing or treating osteoporosis. They involve
little to no impact, so it remains gentle on your body while providing
it with a host of benefits. Balance is particularly crucial—falls
are the leading cause of bone fractures in older populations, especially
for those with osteoporosis. As your muscles increasingly pull and stretch
your bones, they will adapt to accommodate your activity level.
The key to preventing osteoporosis is ultimately knowledge. Ask your doctor
about getting a bone density test. When you know you’re at risk,
you can more effectively take steps to ensure you live a strong, vital
life without fear of bone weakness.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.