Today, October 20, we celebrate World Osteoporosis Day. This date aims to make the population aware of the prevention and diagnosis of what is the most common type of bone disease.
As Dr. Aurora Garre , Cinfa’s medical expert, explains , “Osteoporosis reduces the density and quality of the bones, as they become more porous. This weakens the skeleton and increases the risk of them breaking.
According to the Spanish Association Against Osteoporosis (AECOS) , around three million people suffer from this condition in our country and most of them are women. In fact, one in three suffers from osteoporosis after menopause. In this sense, the Cinfa expert specifies that “bone mass is the density and quality of bone that a person has in their skeleton. This must be acquired during childhood and youth, because the human being reaches its maximum bone mass peak at 30 or 35 years of age, and from there, it begins to decline. This loss process is usually slow, but the decrease in estrogen that triggers menopause can accelerate it; that is why it is a more common ailment among the female population».
In addition to gender and age, other factors that increase the risk of suffering from this condition are family history — there is a genetic predisposition — and having a small physical constitution or a low body mass index. “Also the lack of calcium and vitamin D, the consumption of tobacco and alcohol or leading a sedentary lifestyle can seriously weaken our skeleton”, warns the expert.
The symptom, the fracture
Osteoporosis has no symptoms in its early stages, and it is often the first fracture that leads to discovery. Above all, these usually affect the spine, wrists, hips, pelvis and humerus .
For this reason, the main goal of treatment is to minimize the risk of suffering them, says Dr. Garre. “To achieve this, as important as pharmacological measures – drugs that stop bone loss or calcium and / or vitamin D supplements – are other tips related to leading a healthy lifestyle from childhood that strengthens our bones. For example: incorporating calcium-rich foods into the diet, exercising regularly and taking care of body posture, ”he concludes.
Keys to minimize the effects
- Eat a diet rich in calcium. Try to get all the calcium that your skeleton needs in a natural way through food: dairy products –yogurt, cheese, milk… -, fruits and vegetables –kale, spinach, onions, nuts… -, fish – anchovies, sardines , sole, and salmon – and seafood. Also a diet rich in protein helps prevent hip fracture.
- Secure your vitamin D intake. It is obtained with the rays of the sun, so that between fifteen and twenty minutes a day of sun exposure will guarantee the necessary amount of this important vitamin, which fixes calcium in the bone.
- Quit tobacco and cut down on alcohol. Both substances damage bones, but alcohol also decreases reflexes and increases the risk of falls and possible fractures. Excess coffee is not advisable either.
- Get regular exercise. Avoid being sedentary and do some physical activity for twenty or thirty minutes about three times a week. Some of the exercises that will help you strengthen your bones are walking, dancing, tai chi, yoga, or weight-bearing exercises. Always avoid those that involve some kind of risk.
5 . Take care of your postures on a day-to-day basis . Watch the way you walk, sit, lie down, and get up. Also pay attention to the way you pick up and transfer weights.
- Pay attention when walking down the street. Take a good look where you step and avoid walking on frosty days, if you live in a cold area. Choose well the shoes you use: they must fit your foot and the heels must be low.
- Minimize the risks of falls at home. Leave the lights on at night so you can see better while walking; remove rugs or other decorative items that could trip you; Install safety bars and non-slip flooring in the bathroom in the shower or bathtub.
- Watch your eyesight. The best way to avoid a fall is to see well, so it is recommended that you go to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist once or twice a year.
- Avoid hypotensive or sedative drugs. This type of medicine can cause drowsiness and instability, so it is preferable not to take them as much as possible. If you must, be very careful when you get up and move around.
- Take calcium and vitamin D supplements if necessary. Your doctor will tell you if you need to supplement your diet with this type of contribution, which you should always take under his supervision and respecting the doses and administration guidelines that he indicates.