Facts About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose density and weaken. They can become dangerously brittle and fracture easily. It is a common condition in the elderly and is more likely to affect postmenopausal women. This condition tends to be underdiagnosed because many people do not understand how prevalent it is and how dangerous bone loss can be. Screening for osteoporosis is important for women over the age of 65, and bone density testing is covered by Medicare. Men over the age of 70 should also go for screening along with anyone who may be at risk. If a person under the age of 65 has a family history of osteoporosis or has had a facture from a minor fall after the age of 45, it may be prudent to ask for a bone density test. There are other factors that may also increase the risk of osteoporosis at an early age, including steroid medications and smoking cigarettes. It is possible to prevent this condition from occurring. A healthy diet, adequate calcium, vitamin D and exercise are all essential to healthy bones. It is also important to avoid soft drinks because they contain phosphates which can leech calcium from the bones. Once a person has suffered from bone loss, there are steps to take that can help slow the progression. It is also important for people with osteoporosis to be extra careful and take any necessary precautions to avoid falls, which can result in fractures. Exercise is important, but once bone loss has occurred, some forms of exercise can increase the possibility of fractures. Consult a physician before beginning any exercise program. Eating a healthy diet continues to be important even after bone loss has occurred. Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy bones and could slow the progression of the condition. There are a variety of drugs available that may help treat osteoporosis, but many of them are not proven effective and some have known side effects. It is important to discuss all options with a physician before beginning any drug treatment program. Osteoporosis causes an estimated two billion fractures a year. It is important to ensure that the public is well informed about this condition. Public awareness can help reduce the incidence of this disease by educating people on the risks and providing them with advice about prevention.