Having weak bones could have an effect on our lives and we need to be aware of “the silent crippler”, which is what osteoporosis is also known as, because a person usually doesn’t know that they have it until it’s too late.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fracture – particularly of the spine, wrists, hip, pelvis and upper arms. Bone loss is gradual and without warning signs until the disease is advanced in many affected people. Unfortunately, in many cases, the first real “symptom” is a broken bone, which can result in extreme pain and even death in severe cases.
Osteoporosis is not “an old woman’s disease”! This is a true misconception and in fact, bone loss in women can begin as early as the age of 25. Furthermore, new studies have shown the occurrence of osteoporosis in men is higher than previously thought.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will possibly develop this disease within their lifetime – which means potentially millions and millions of people suffering from osteoporosis.
Various factors contribute to the risk of developing osteoporosis. Some of these factors include:
- Being older than 65 years
- Having broken a bone after the age of 50
- Poor or fair health
- Being underweight for a specific height
- Menopause before the age of 45
- Not getting in enough calcium
- More than two drinks of alcohol a day, several times a week
- Poor vision
- Not being physically active
- Chronic lung disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic hepatic or renal disease
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Cushing’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Oral glucocorticoids (steroids)
- Cancer treatments (radiation, chemotherapy)
- Thyroid medicine
- Antiepileptic medications
- Gonadal hormone suppression
- Immunosuppressive agents
- Rickets and osteomalacia
- Kidney disease
- Paget’s disease of bone
- Genetic abnormalities
- Endocrine disorders
- Cushing’s disease