How to Delay the Onset of Osteoporosis
How to Delay the Onset of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a chronic medical condition that exists when the body either loses bone faster than it can be made or doesn’t make it as fast as it’s being lost. Once the condition advances to a certain point those who suffer are at a higher risk for fracture from low traumatic events. This means that while a normal bone will break from an intense fall or car accident, an individual who suffers from osteoporosis may break a bone by walking or arising from a chair. Normally, broken bones are not a life-threatening events. However, bone fractures as a result of osteoporosis can result in death within one year in 20% of the cases. (1)
Many individuals want to delay osteoporosis as they grow older. There are several different types of treatment available once bone loss has been detected, but the best treatment is always prevention. The peak bone mass density for an individual is achieved between the ages of 25 and 35. If an individual is able to maintain a healthy lifestyle before the age of 20 and achieve a high peak bone mass density then they are well on their way to delaying osteoporosis as they grow older.
If however, an individual does not start with a healthy lifestyle before the age of 30, there are other things they can do to decrease their chances of suffering from osteoporosis. Studies have shown that exercising during the teenage years will increase bone mass density and increase the individual peak bone mass density. (2) Other criteria for a lifestyle that prevents osteoporosis is a balanced healthy diet and the recommended doses of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K2. Individuals who avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake also are at less risk for developing osteoporosis in their later years. (3)
In order to delay the onset of osteoporosis individuals should be aware of their current bone mass density status. Physicians use a screening tool called a DXA x-ray which is the gold standard for osteoporosis diagnoses. This x-ray gives a T-score which allows the physician and individual to compare measurements over time.
Osteoporosis isn’t a “have it” or “not have it” condition. In other words, everyone begins to lose bone mass after the age of 35 and everyone has bone loss. Osteoporosis is measured by the degree of bone loss that an individual suffers from.
Another part of a prevention plan to delay the onset of osteoporosis is to understand the techniques used to diagnose, treat and prevent. You might remember that exercising in the preteen and teen years will help to increase bone mass density as well is eating a nutritious diet necessary to build strong bones. Vitamin D is vital to the absorption of calcium and magnesium and is essential if your body is to use calcium correctly. Everyone will manufacture their own vitamin D by getting adequate amounts of sunlight each and every day.
Getting regular exercise that is weight-bearing after the teen years will also help to prevent osteoporosis. Although swimming, cycling and walking are great cardiovascular exercises for individuals they do not help to increase bone mass density because they do not place enough stress on the bones.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with osteoporosis there are several things they can do to reduce the bone thinning and continue to delay any abrupt onset. Continue to get enough calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2 as well as stop smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Most importantly, after correct nutrition, is a weight-bearing exercise program that will help the bone structure to begin making and manufacturing more bone cells. Menopausal women may consider the use of bisphosphonates to decrease bone loss.
The measures used to delay osteoporosis as you grow older begin in the teen years but do extend through the senior years. The body is an amazing thing and given the right tools it will try to repair and heal itself. By living a healthy lifestyle with an appropriate exercise program individuals can go a long way to delaying the onset of osteoporosis.
(1) Journal of the American Medical Association: Older Adults Who Experience Osteoporotic Fracture Have Increased Risk of Death for 5-10 Years
(2) Sports Medicine Australia: Exercise and Osteoporosis
(3) Health Canada: Seniors and Aging- Osteoporosis