Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become fragile and more likely to fracture. The existing bones in a person’s body are constantly being broken down and replaced by new bone. The risks of developing osteoporosis depends mainly on two factors namely – peak bone mass at maturity and the rate of bone loss in the following years.
Generally, calcium is an important mineral required for bone formation. Lack of calcium in a person’s body causes the bone cartilage to become brittle and more likely to fracture. Reports from the Osteoporosis Association of Canada say that one in four women above 50 years of age is affected by osteoporosis. Even though this condition is more prevalent among women, men also suffer from the same as they age. However, osteoporosis is more prominent in postmenopausal women.
A bone mineral density scan (BMD) which displays a T-score is a test to check whether the bones are strong. A zero score will confirm that the cartilage is strong and a score above zero confirms that it is stronger than average. A score of -1 specifies that a person is at osteopenia stage (with some cartilage loss with increased risk of fracture). Also, a score of -2.5 indicates that a person has significant bone loss and a greater risk of fracture.
Making slight moderations in certain life factors and following a more active and healthy lifestyle or routine will help in preventing this condition. High intake of calcium and Vitamin D can prove to be good. Smoking cessation and reduced alcohol intake can also help prevent this condition.
A high level of physical activity is crucial for maintaining healthy bones thereby preventing the risks of osteoporosis. It also helps in reducing falls and hip fractures. Even though cartilage rebuilding slows naturally as we age, exercise plays a key role in rebuilding and preserving its density. Regular exercise stimulates the bone to become stronger and denser. High impact exercises and resistance/strength training is very effective at slowing or stopping this condition. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jumping rope, running and stair climbing keep the bones strong.