Health and Fitness

What Causes Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bones which occurs usually after the age of forty. As the years go on, the bones become thinner and thinner. Many people think that only women get osteoporosis. This is not true. Men, also experience the thinning of the bones, but women are more at risk for this skeletal loss.

Bone loss is common in women after menopause. The reason for this is that after menopause, there is a decrease in the production of estrogen which keeps the bones from getting thinner. Sometimes certain diseases can increase the likelihood of osteoporosis. Among them are thyroid conditions, liver diseases, and alcoholism.

Because osteoporosis causes the bones to become thinner, a person is subjected to hip, spine, and wrist fractures. This usually happens after the age of sixty-five. Many women fall because of the weakness in the bones. Because of this problem, it is important to take a bone scan soon after menopause to find out if there is bone loss, and if so, to what degree.

In order to keep the bones from getting thinner, it is important to exercise, eat a good portion of food that contain calcium and an intake of vitamin D. A small amount of exposure to the sun is a good way to get vitamin D. It is better to take these vitamins from food, but if it is too difficult, then calcium supplements should be taken.

A good way to get calcium is from milk, cottage cheese, and American cheese. Poor diets and a lack of exposure to sunshine can contribute to a loss of vitamin D which is important for calcium to be absorbed in the body.

Exercise is very important in preventing bone loss. A walk at least three times a week for a half an hour is commonly suggested. Also recommended are weight bearing exercises. Bowling is considered to be a good weight bearing exercise. If you have weights such as dumbbells, use them. Just make sure that the weights are not too heavy. You can use heavier weights when you are ready for them. A set of aerobic exercises three times a week is also good.

Sometimes a person is unable to walk for other health reasons, and therefore is unable to exercise. If this is so, physical therapy can help. Also a physical therapist or some other exercise expert can recommend weight lifting exercises where a person just has to sit in a chair.

It is wise to take a bone scan about every two or three years, even if tests have shown that there is no bone loss. This is usually recommended by doctors in order to get an indication as to whether a person who has osteoporosis is remaining the same or getting worse. If a test shows that there is more thinning of the bones, a doctor may prescribe medication.

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