1 What is osteoporosis?
You may have heard of osteoporosis, or even you are having it now, but you may not have full understanding of osteoporosis.
As the name suggests, osteoporosis means porous bone, where the density and quality of bone are reduced, causing the bone more fragile and easier to be broken. The picture below shows the bones of people with and without osteoporosis.
1.1 Alarming symptoms
There are no early osteoporosis symptoms until it gets advanced. Be alarmed if you have these symptoms persistently, and consult the doctor in time:
- Back pain
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture or curved upper back
- Fractures that occur with minor injuries (especially of the hip, spine, or wrist)
You can detect osteoporosis before any of the mentioned symptoms occur by bone density tests. If you do have osteoporosis, click here to see tips that may help you: Diagnosis and Home Remedies for Osteoporosis.
1.2 Risk factors
These are some risk factors of osteoporosis:
- Age. The older you are, the higher the risk of having osteoporosis you have.
- Gender. The risk of a female of having osteoporosis (40-50%) is higher than a male (13-22%).
- Family history. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, your risk of having it is higher.
- Previous fracture. This increases the risk of any fracture by 86%.
- Long term glucocorticoid therapy. This is a very common cause of osteoporosis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This will increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Some medical treatments affecting bone health. You should consult your doctor if you are having any.
2 How to prevent or slow down osteoporosis?
Before introduce prevention of osteoporosis, we first need to understand the concept of bone mass. Bone mass refers to the strength and size of the bone, which will change with the age of people. Most people reach peak bone mass in their mid-20s.
The bone mass changes because of two process: resorption, where old bone is removed, and formation, where new bone is created. The rate of resorption is greater than that of formation before the mid-20s (peak bone mass), and the opposite goes after that.
The methods suggested below can help slow down the process of resorption, thus helping preventing osteoporosis.
2.1 Adequate calcium/vitamin D intake
Recommended calcium/vitamin D intake content for different people
The suggested calcium intake doses are: 1000 mg per day for women between 19 to 50 and men between 19 to 70, and 1200 mg for women over 50 and men over 70.
The suggested vitamin D intake doses are: 400 – 800 international units (IU) daily for people under 50 and 800 – 1000 IU daily for people of and over 50.
List of food that can provide calcium/vitamin D
Food with rich calcium:
- sesame seeds: 989 mg/100 g
- winged beans: 442 mg calcium/100 g
- almonds: 367 mg calcium/1 cup
- fried tofu: 372 mg calcium/100 g
- milk: 276 mg calcium/1 cup
- broccoli: 74 mg calcium/1 cup
- orange juice: 72 mg calcium/1 cup
Food with rich vitamin D:
- salmon: 988 IU/100 g
- herring: 1628 IU/100 g
- cod liver oil: 450 IU/tsp (4.9 ml)
- canned tuna: 236 IU/100 g
- oysters: 320 IU/100 g
- shrimp: 152 IU/100 g
- milk: 130 IU/1 cup
2.2 Participate in exercises
Recommended time duration and frequency
Exercise for 30 to 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times each week is recommended for adults.
Recommended exercise types
Weight-bearing activities are considered most effective for preventing osteoporosis. Common high-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
- high impact aerobics
- jumping rope
- stair climbing
2.3 Avoid heavy drinks
Recommended amount of drink and frequency
1 drink per day for women, and 1 to 2 drinks per day for men is considered moderate and good for health.