Osteoporosis is a disease that can strike at any age. It causes your bones to become thinner and more easily fractured, which is why many people associate the disease with old age. However, this association is just one of many myths about osteoporosis. In this blog post, we’ll bust some of the most common myths and provide the information you need to spot osteoporosis early and counter the symptoms.
Myth busting osteoporosis
Myth: Runners and exercise fanatics have an increased risk.
Truth: Exercise helps to stimulate the production of osteocalcin, which is the protein associated with the formation of new bones. This puts people who regularly exercise, even weight-bearing exercise, at lower risk.
Myth: Osteoporosis is only a problem for elderly people.
Truth: After the age of 30 everybody starts to gradually lose bone density. So while it’s true that under normal circumstances an older person will have a lower bone density, there are so many external factors it’s far too general to say it only impacts the lives of the elderly.
Myth: Osteoporosis is a purely physical condition.
Truth: Researchers in Finland spent 10-years studying women between the ages of 60 and 70. They found the emotional wellbeing of the subjects consistently affected the bone density of the patient. Unhappy women showed up to an 85% lower bone density than their happy counterparts. Being mentally stressed can restrict your ability to absorb calcium and reconstruct bones, as well as increasing the likelihood you’ll follow an unhealthy lifestyle.
Osteoporosis risk factors
In the earliest stages of bone loss, it’s very difficult to spot any problems. This is one of the many reasons taking sensible precautions before any problems occur are such a good idea. You can be screened for osteoporosis at any age, so it’s important to be aware of the factors that place you at greater risk.
- Osteoporosis is more likely to affect you if you’re a woman.
- Your risk increases if any of your immediate family members have suffered from the disease.
- You’re also at greater risk of developing the disease after menopause, especially if you experienced early onset menopause.
- If you’re of white or Asian descent, you’re more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
- People with smaller frames are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. This is believed to be because they have less bone mass to draw upon as they age.
While none of these factors are definitive, they are a good indication of whether you should consider being tested before you start experiencing any problems.
Precautions you should be taking
Whether you’ve already started suffering from osteoporosis, or are at a higher risk and want to take preventative measures, there are several things you can do to help minimise the risk.
Regular exercise, especially where your feet and legs are required to support your body weight, can help stave off osteoporosis. It’s recommended that an adult aged 19 to 64 should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week.
While eating a healthy diet is a preventative measure for most types of disease, a very specific sort is good for osteoporosis. A Mediterranean diet with plenty of oily fish, leafy green vegetables is great for your bone health. Your diet should ensure your calcium intake is sufficient. You should also ensure you maintain your vitamin D levels.
Although the link is still not fully understood, the evidence is conclusive that smoking reduces bone density. Quitting smoking and only consuming alcohol moderately will both help to keep your bones strong.
While you may never develop osteoporosis, taking preventative measures will ensure you live a longer and healthier life. There are almost no scenarios where regular exercise, a delicious healthy Mediterranean diet, getting plenty of vitamin D, and having fun and staying happy are bad ideas.