Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

What is it?

Osteoporosis means ‘porous bones’ and is a disease where the bones become weak and brittle and therefore more fragile and prone to breaking.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease as it can occur gradually over time and without any symptoms.

 

Both men and women can develop osteoporosis, however the vast majority are older women. This is due to the effects of lower eostrogen production following perimenopause and menopause, as eostrogen plays an important role in protecting bone loss.

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Small build and frame
  • Perimenopause and menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Taking certain medications
  • Caucasian or Asian woman
  • Osteopenia (low bone bass)
  • Coeliac disease and other gut conditions
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diet lacking in calcium
  • Lack of exposuse to sunlight may cause a Vitamin D deficiency
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Diagnosis

Your GP will assess your risk of osteoporosis to begin with before referring you for a test.

Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone density test, which is a painless scan that measures the strength of your bones, usually at the hip and the spine. The result of this test is given as a T-score.

Normal = higher than -1

Osteopenia = between -1 and -2.5

Osteoporosis = – 2.5 or lower

 
Prevention

  • Consume adequate amounts of calcium from dairy products, nuts, seeds, cereals, fruit and vegetables (see below for recommended intake levels)
  • Maximise absorption of calcium by minimising consumption of caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks and a diet high in animal protein
  • Recommended amount of exposure to sunlight
  • Avoid smoking
  • Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercise, such as walking and light weights

* Sourced from: www.osteoporosis.org.au

**Please note these are general recommendations only, and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, health practitioner or pharmacist. We highly recommend that you contact your preferred medical practitioner for further testing if symptoms persist.

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