Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” since it often sneaks up on people. It is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to weaken as the individual ages and increases the risk of facture. Most frequently, fractures occur in the spine, hips and wrists, but any bone is prone to breaking.
All too often, bones are thought of as hard and lifeless, but nothing could be further from the truth. Bones are living, growing tissue consisting of collagen, calcium-phosphate mineral complexes and living bone cells. This tissue must be properly cared for otherwise osteoporosis may occur in both men and women.
Prevention and treatment
Most people tend to believe that getting older brings an increased risk of weakened bones and breaks, but osteoporosis can actually be prevented. Children and teenagers form bone faster than they lose it, which means that the more steps that can be taken to prevent osteoporosis during these periods the stronger the bones will be in adulthood. As people age, they lose bone and bone density, especially toward middle age. However, it is never too late to take steps to protect the bones.
Regardless of age, it is important to get enough calcium and vitamin D through eating a well-balanced diet; this is as important in the prevention of the disease, as it is in the treatment. Other foods that play an important role in bone health are fresh fruits and vegetables those rich in protein. Individuals who smoke should quit; smoking actually increases the rate of bone loss and if alcohol must be consumed, it is a good idea to limit drinks to two or three every few days. Regular exercise also plays an integral role of the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis; bone-strengthening routines, such as weight training, are especially important.
Living with osteoporosis
Just because a person has osteoporosis doesn’t mean that they need to slow down. There are steps that can be taken to prevent the chances of a fall and ways of dealing with fractures when they do occur.
Preventing fracture in the first place is important when where osteoporosis is concerned, so it is advisable to have regular hearing and eyesight tests to ensure everything is up to par and help reduce the chances of tripping over objects and other accidents. It is also sensible to keep the home clutter-free. However, for those at particularly high risk of fracture, medication may help. Doctors often advise individuals to buy Fosomax or similar medications that can help strengthen bones.
If a fracture does occur, it is important to treat the pain effectively, as recovery can take up to eight weeks. Apart from pain relievers, hot or cold treatments, such as warm baths and cold packs are usually recommended. However, relaxation techniques have also proven to aide in the alleviation of pain association with bone fractures. Some patients opt for TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) treatments.
A great way of learning to deal with osteoporosis is to get out there and talk to others who have lived through the disease. There are plenty of websites, forums and support groups where osteoporosis patients share their experiences and answer questions. Connecting with others is always a great way to deal with a tough situation.