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Osteoporosis

Bone is a living, growing tissue made up of cells, vessels and crystals of calcium compounds. Bone is remodeled throughout life. Remodeling is the process in which bones are broken down then built up back again through bone formation, 10% of skeletal bone gets replaced this way each year.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a Greek word meaning porous bone. It occurs when there is an imbalance between bone breakdown and bone formation causing the bone to become very weak and spongy, making it very liable to break and fracture.

How can Osteoporosis affect our lives?

Osteoporosis is a major health problem, its complications such as hip, vertebral, and long bone fractures affect more than 9% of the world population. Osteoporosis is a silent disease, it is only when its complications occur that the patient suffers from pain, loss of freedom of mobility and diminished daily activity thus negatively affecting the quality of life.

How common is Osteoporosis?

According to the International Foundation of Osteoporosis 2005:

  • Osteoporosis affects 200 million women worldwide.
  • Fracture risk in women is four times higher then in men.
  • Approximately 30% of women over the age of 50 have 1 or 2 vertebral fractures.
  • Approximately one in five men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime.
  • After the age of 50, the risk of hip fractures doubles every 5-7 years.

You are at increased Risk of Osteoporosis in case of:

  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Menopause
  • Aging, whether male or female
  • Poor diet e.g. low calcium food intake
  • Vitamin D insufficiency
  • Lack of exercise
  • Heavy use of tobacco, alcohol or fizzy drinks
  • Chronic use of certain drugs such as steroids
  • Suffer from certain diseases such as Chronic Liver Diseases or Cushing Syndrome

How can you prevent osteoporosis?

  • A healthy diet at all stages of life is essential for prevention of osteoporosis.

    Calcium and Vitamin D are 2 nutrients of particular importance for healthy bones:
    Calcium
    - Adult body requirement of Calcium is 700 mg/day.
    - Enrich your body with food rich in calcium such as fish, dairy products and green leafy vegetables.
    Vitamin D
    - Sunlight is the most important source of sunlight, make sure your skin gets adequate exposure of Sunlight.
    - Enrich your body with food rich in Vitamin D such as fish oil, egg yolk, margarines and fortified foods.

  • Exercise regulartly, especially weight bearing exercise.
  • Avoid calcium depleting substances such as tobacco and alcohol.

Recommendations for Women and Men above 50 years:

  • Counsel on the risk osteoporosis and related fractures
  • Check for secondary causes
  • Take adequate amounts of Calcium ( at least 1200 mg daily including supplements if necessary) and Vitamin D
  • Regular weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise to reduce risk of falls and fractures
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Bone mineral density testing is recommended

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