OSTEOPOROSIS AND BONE HEALTH – CAUSES AND PRECAUTIONS

Article written by :sudipto

Dr Sudipto Mukherjee
DNB (Ortho) New Delhi
Consultant Orthopaedics & Traumatologist
Peerless Hospital

Why is bone health important?

Our bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bones faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around the age of 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, and with ageing you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

What affects bone health?

A number of factors can affect bone health. For example:

  • The amount of calcium in your diet-A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Physical activity-People who are physically inactive has a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
  • Tobacco and alcohol usetriggers absorption of calcium. Hence this can lead to weakness in bones. This leads to osteoporosis.
  • Gender, size and age- Women are more prone to have osteoporosis because of their low bone tissue. If a person has body mass index of 19 or less, this too can lead to osteoporosis. With ageing the bones become thinner and weaker.
  • Race and family history- Osteoporosis is seen more often in the white or Asian descent and also in the people who have a family history of osteoporosis/fractures.
  • Hormone levels- Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels.
  • Eating disorders and other conditions.People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and Cushing’s disease can affect your body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Certain medications.Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors.

What can I do to keep my bones healthy?

You can take a few simple steps to prevent or slow bone loss. For example:

  • Include plenty of calcium in your diet.
  • Pay attention to vitamin D.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Avoid smoking and alcoholic drinks.
  • Exposure to sunlight at least 40 mins per day 5 days a week.

How to Avoid Back Injury?

Twisting at the waist, especially when bending or carrying something, is a prime cause of back injury. Reduce the risk of injury and pain by making sure your hips, knees and shoulders always move in the same direction. Regular back exercises and avoiding obesity inducing foods is also very important.

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind during daily activities:

Getting out of bed:

  • Roll on your side and bend both knees toward your chest in a loose fetal position.
  • Push your upper body into a sitting position, legs over the edge of the bed.
  • Stand up, keeping your back straight.

Loading and unloading:

  • Keep loads small and close to you.
  • Keep a straight back, and use your leg muscles to do most of the work.
  • Pivot on your feet to turn around, instead of twisting your upper body.

Shoveling and sweeping:

  • Make sure your feet and the buckle on your belt face your shovel or broom.
  • Keep your feet moving, and stretch with your arms and back.

How to protect your joints?

Protection of joints depends on how to use your joints to prevent injury, preserve joint health and keep pain at bay. Maintaining low body weight, regular exercise and healthy nutritious diet helps to protect joints.  Certain arthritis devices can protect your joints and keep you mobile.

  • Custom-made orthotics /foot inserts may help stamp out foot pain.

Orthotics redistribute weight and relieve pressure on sensitive areas of the feet, provide cushioning that reduces stress, or biomechanical load, on the lower body, and correct gait and structural abnormalities.

  • Ring splints offer a fashionable way to improve finger function and provide joint support.
  • A knee brace or hip belts can keep pain at bay.
  • Ankle supports helps to heal soft tissue injuries and helps mobility.

How can we prevent falls?

  • Senior citizens are more prone to serious injuries following low velocity falls/trauma.
  • Precautions should be taken at home. Floors should be kept dry. Cane can be used by the elderly to get support. Hand rails should be used while climbing stairs, everywhere else where movement needs support. Avoid rugs and carpets.
  • Exercise
  • Get your eyes tested
  • Light up dark areas of the of your home

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