Osteoporosis is a “silent disease” that affects many people. It occurs mainly in people over 50 years of age, with a higher incidence in women.
Osteoporosis is the gradual reduction in bone mass and density, resulting in brittle bones and prone to fractures. Osteoporosis is the final stage of a chronic condition called osteopenia, which is characterized by low bone density, regarding to normal range. Osteopenia is not a disease, but it is a precursor to osteoporosis.
The maximum bone density that an individual will have up to 18-25 years of age, depends on a number of factors such as lifestyle and diet, heredity as well as the medical history. Unfortunately, osteopenia and osteoporosis have no symptoms and there is no treatment until there is a fracture.
Causes of osteoporosis
The bone tissue is a living tissue, which changes its consistency and density every day. Every day, the body degrades and reconstructs new bone, according to its needs. In young people, the rate of building a new bone tissue is larger than the rate of degradation and the reason is that they need to grow. After the end of growth, the bones become motr thick until they reach their maximum bone density, about 25 years. From 25 years onwards, degradation begins to predominate over bone reconstruction, resulting in a gradual decrease in bone density over time. Middle-aged people lose bone mass more quickly, especially women after menopause.
If throughout the lifespan the diet is not rich in certain trace elements required by the body to maintain its bone mass then degradation begins and people develop osteopenia and gradually osteoporosis. In summary, factors that can affect the appearance of osteoporosis are:
- Decreased calcium, vitamin K, vitamin D and magnesium intake
- Increased uptake of vitamin A
- Chronic corticosteroid administration
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Renal failure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid diseases
Prevention and treatment
Prevention of osteoporosis is the best treatment. The treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis involves the reduction of the rate of bone degradation and the prevention of further loss of bone tissue. There are also non-pharmaceutical agents for treating osteoporosis as
- Adequate intake of essential trace elements through nutrition or supplements
- Quitting smoking
- Reduce coffee intake
Diets that contain abundant food rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K and magnesium can help prevent bone mass degradation. Increase the intake of low-fat dairy and cheese products, choose green leafy vegetables, increase in general consumption of fruits and vegetables and sun exposure.
Aerobic exercise that includes impacts such as jogging, propriety exercises, weight training, and especially those using body weight, appear to help prevent bone loss and also mobilize body to build new bone tissue. Systematic exercise is of utmost importance especially in the elderly as it improves the balance, strength, propriety and elasticity of the body, factors that reduce the risk of fractures and falls in the elderly.
People, especially older people (> 60 years old) who can not reach the recommended intake of the necessary trace elements, should be receiving dietary supplements
The most basic bone element. Daily recommended calcium intake is differentiated according to the stage of development and age. People over 50 should receive daily 1,200 and 1,500 mg / day. Calcium citrate and calcium phosphate are the most absorbable forms of calcium and can be taken independently of the meal without causing gastrointestinal disturbances. Calcium carbonate is less absorbable and should be taken along with food. It is advisable to take the total dose of calcium, divided in 2 to 3 doses in the day at doses of less than 500 mg at a time.
It is a basic trace element in calcium metabolism and bone health. In particular, it regulates the calcium intake from calcium receptors. Older people as well as people with chronic stress usually have deficient in magnesium. Supplemental intake of magnesium helps reduce the rate of bone degradation, while promotes the formation of new bone tissue, thereby reducing the risk of fractures.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin, most of which is synthesized on the skin with the help of solar radiation. Its role in calcium metabolism is particularly important as it activates the absorption of calcium from the intestine and its deposition in the bones, thus reducing calcium deposition on vessels’ walls. Lack of vitamin D leads to bone degradation and increased calcium deposition in the vascular walls. Recommended daily intake for adults is 400 to 800 IU / day, while for individuals over 50 can be up to 2,000 IU / day.
It is also a fat-soluble vitamin that binds calcium and helps it to be transported and absorbed by the bones. Vitamin K is abundant in dark green leafy vegetables as well as in dairy products. The daily recommended intake is set at 150 to 500 mcg. Vitamin K supplements should be taken at the same time with anticoagulants or antiplatelet medical treatment
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