Osteoporosis, which is sometimes known
as 'porous bone', is a disease characterized
by low bone mass and structural deterioration
of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility
and an increased susceptibility to fractures
of the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis
prevention is the best way to combat this
disease. Men as well as women suffer from
osteoporosis, and need to embark on an osteoporosis
prevention program at a timely point in
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat
for 28 million Americans, 80% of whom are
women. Currently, in the U.S., 10 million
individuals already have osteoporosis and
18 million more have low bone mass, placing
them at increased risk for this disease.
Few people have an osteoporosis prevention
program at place in their lives. One out
of every two women and one in eight men
over 50 will have an osteoporosis related
fracture in their lifetime, making osteoporosis
prevention very important. More than 2 million
American men suffer from osteoporosis, and
millions more are at risk. Each year, 80,000
men suffer a hip fracture and one-third
of these men die within a year. Osteoporosis
prevention should be the first line of defense.
This disease must be better understood in
order to be more effectively treated, but
osteoporosis prevention is key.
A variety of drugs exist to help in osteoporosis
prevention, or in treating the bone-thinning
disease osteoporosis. Researchers are studying
whether a yearly infusion of the drug Zometa
(generic name, zoledronic acid) is as effective
as daily doses of similar drugs such as
Actonel (generic name, risedronate sodium),
or Fosamax (generic name, alendronate) in
osteoporosis prevention or treating osteoporosis.
Preliminary results have shown that annual,
semi-annual, and quarterly infusions of
Zometa increase bone mineral density. If
large clinical trials confirm its effectiveness
in osteoporosis prevention, the manufacturer
of Zometa may file for U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approval in 2005. However,
many people find the drug related regimens
and side effects of these medications used
in osteoporosis prevention and aid to be
bothersome and invasive. Natural steps in
osteoporosis prevention may be the most
desirable way to deal with this disease.
Osteoporosis prevention equates to total
avoidance of the dehabilitating symptoms.
In looking at ways to implement an osteoporosis
prevention program of your own, first consider
some of the risk factors that go hand in
hand with this disease. Especially consider
the risk factors that you can affect and
Certain factors are linked to the development
of osteoporosis, and osteoporosis prevention,
or contribute to an individuals likelihood
of developing the disease. These are called
"risk factors." Many people with
osteoporosis have several of these risk
factors, but others who develop osteoporosis
have no identified risk factors. There are
some risk factors that you cannot change,
and others that you can, in your quest for
Risk factors you cannot change in considering
an osteoporosis prevention plan: Gender
- Your chances of developing osteoporosis
are greater if you are a woman. Women have
less bone tissue and lose bone more rapidly
than men because of the changes involved
Age - the older you are, the greater your
risk of osteoporosis. Your bones become
less dense and weaker as you age. There
is no osteoporosis prevention when it is
Body size - Small, thin-boned women are
at greater risk.
Ethnicity - Caucasian and Asian women are
at highest risk. African-American and Latino
women have a lower but significant risk.
Family history - Susceptibility to fracture
may be, in part, hereditary. People whose
parents have a history of fractures also
seem to have reduced bone mass and may be
at risk for fractures. Osteoporosis prevention
methods can greatly help in this area.
Risk factors you can change, and make a
difference in your osteoporosis prevention
Sex hormones: abnormal absence of menstrual
periods (amenorrhea), low estrogen level
(menopause), and low testosterone level
A lifetime diet low in calcium.
Use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids
or some anticonvulsants.
An inactive lifestyle or extended bed rest
and Lack of exercise.
Excessive use of alcohol.
Vitamin D deficiency.
Getting enough calcium is important for
developing and keeping strong bones, and
in osteoporosis prevention. If the body
is not getting enough calcium, it will draw
the calcium out of the bones. Calcium, Vitamin
D, and exercise can reduce the bone loss,
and help with osteoporosis prevention in
many people. The recommended daily amount
of calcium is 1,500 milligrams (mg) for
adolescents, 1,200 mg for adults and 1,500
mg for postmenopausal women. 1,200 mg of
calcium is equal to about 4 cups of milk
or 4 cups of calcium fortified orange juice.
Adequate dietary calcium, even as an adult,
can help replace the bone loss that occurs
with aging, and can help with osteoporosis
prevention. Low-fat dairy products like
milk, cheese, and yogurt, and calcium-fortified
orange juice are good calcium sources.
Physical activity enhances bone development,
while lack of exercise benefits significant
bone loss. Exercise programs should be aimed
at increased strength, coordination, balance
and flexibility in order to help with osteoporosis
prevention. Weight-bearing exercises are
good, although simple activities such as
walking and hiking also may be helpful.
Exercise, is essential for bone health.
Weight-bearing activities like walking helps
to make muscles and bones stronger, and
can be very effective at osteoporosis prevention.
For gender related osteoporosis prevention
and aid, estrogen is currently the agent
of choice for postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Estrogen preserves bone density, and has
been shown to reduce the risk of
bone fractures by approximately 50 percent,
making it very effective at osteoporosis
prevention. Replacement Therapy (HRT) is
a viable method for osteoporosis prevention.
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