Dr Goutam Kodikal, Orthopedist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Koramangala Bangalore
Often addressed as the ‘Silent Disease”, Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and break down. There are no visible symptoms of the disease in early stages until the bones become weak enough that a sudden bump or fall results in a fracture.
While Osteoporosis is prevalent in men and women both, women who are going through menopause are particularly at risk of developing this disease. The lack of estrogen has been directly linked to perimenopause and menopause and development of Osteoporosis. Estrogen and progesterone are two main hormones that contribute to keeping the bones in a female body strong and hence during menopause they are prone to this condition.
Women generally have smaller and lighter bones as compared to men and this makes them more susceptible to diseases like Osteoporosis. Over the past few decades, women have taken up multiple roles in life and juggling time between work and home has left them with little to no time for looking after their health.
Bones are a living tissue that are constantly being built, torn down and rebuilt in our body as nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and potassium get digested in our body. Bones continue to strengthen till mid 30s and post that they began to lose the density and an empty honey comb like tissue replaces the hard minerals in the them. The tissues are much lighter and tend to break much easily when the body undergoes a light trauma.
In younger women also there are a range of factors that can cause Osteoporosis like anorexia, Bulimia and lack of periods. The condition is more prevalent in younger women who are athletic and have lower body weight due to high level of activity and diet routines.
While there are no clear symptoms or causes of Osteoporosis in women, there are a few precautions one can take and adapt early in life to keep this disease at bay. Doctor Goutam Kodikal, Orthopedist at Apollo Spectra Hospital Bangalore Koramangala shares a few steps to prevent Osteoporosis:
Quit Smoking & Drinking- Smoking is known to reduce body’s capacity to absorb calcium and Nicotine can have adverse effects on production of bone forming cells. Alcohol consumption increases the parathyroid hormone in body that leeches calcium from the bones causing them to become weaker and fragile.
Monitor your Diet- Include Vitamin D rich foods in your daily intake as Vitamin D helps in absorbing calcium. Calcium plays a vital role in creating bone mass and making the bones stronger. Cooked Salmon, dairy products and greens like brocolli, Bok Choy and Kale are a rich source of Vitamin D.
Physical Exercise- Workout has been known to build bone density and strengthen your body mass. Thirty minutes of consistent exercise every day can keep a number of diseases at bay including Osteoporosis. Running, jogging and hiking are great options to build stamina and bone mass while dancing, Tai Chi and yoga are also helpful in learning balance.
Get Outdoors- Sunlight is a rich source of Vitamin D and our lifestyle habits tend to keep us all away from sunshine. Workout in the sun to double up the benefits and save time while your body gets a chance to convert all that Vitamin D into Calcium.
Regular Checkups- If you are underweight, over 50 years in age or are going through menopause, its imperative you get your Vitamin D and Calcium levels checked regularly. This can help in an early diagnosis and in developing an effective treatment plan