The bone is living tissue, and like other parts of our bodies, it changes over time. As people age, bone loss is accompanied by bone growth. The cycle of resorption and formation of bone is called remodeling. In people with healthy bone structure, this process continues with both sides of the equation keeping pace.
When a person has osteoporosis, the bone loss or resorption exceeds the growth of new bone. This chronic condition results in weak, porous bone. These bones are brittle and fracture easily. It does not even take a fall for these fragile bones to break. Mild stress such as coughing or bending over can cause a fracture. These fractures are most commonly seen in the hip, wrist or spine.
Treatment for osteoporosis includes medication to help bones stay as strong as possible. Some prevent the body from breaking down the bone. These are bisphosphonates. They need to be taken correctly to prevent ulcers from forming in the esophagus. Another type of medication is given in an annual infusion that lasts for 15 minutes. It can increase bone strength, but a side effect is bone pain. Nausea and vomiting are also associated with this drug.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also a treatment option for post-menopausal women. Estrogen, or estrogen in combination with progestin, is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis. This treatment can lower your chances for bone fractures, but it may produce other health issues.
Improve Your Bone Health
You can also improve your bone health by eating foods rich in calcium. Women younger than 50 should have 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Older women need 1200 milligrams. Making adjustments in your diet can help. Avoid eating foods with high phosphorous content. This mineral can promote bone loss. Red meats, soft drinks and foods with phosphate additives should be kept to a minimum if not altogether avoided.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. You can get this vitamin through sunlight, but depending on your habits and where you live, you may need to use supplements to get the needed 600 international units of vitamin D for healthy bones.
Exercise helps also. Strength training with weight-bearing exercises assists in strengthening the bones and muscles of the limbs and spine. Balance exercises like tai chi can help reduce the risk of falling.
Keep your bones healthy and prevent stress fractures. Check with Dr. Michael to find out about getting a bone density test to discover the health of your bones.