Being blessed with good health is something that most people take for granted, yet once there’s something off-kilter, we tend to take notice of aches and pains with every movement. This is often the case with conditions that affect our bones since they provide the structure we need to literally move freely throughout our days.
While there are several conditions that can affect the skeletal system, the purpose of this blog is to provide an overview of how osteoporosis affects patients and the best treatment to alleviate symptoms.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones in which they become weak and brittle and are more likely to break. The literal definition of the word translates to “porous bone” (from English “osteo” which means bone and the Greek “poros” for porous).
Depending on the severity of the illness, even mild sudden movements such as a cough or a sneeze may cause a fracture.
Symptoms of osteoporosis shouldn’t be ignored. Among the most obvious signs are the following:
- Fracture following low or moderate trauma
- Developing a curve on your back
- Loss of height
- Receding gums
- Bone pain
- Brittle fingernails
- Weak grip
- Pain in the back, hip, or neck
People with certain underlying conditions are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
If you or a loved one suffer from any of the illnesses below, pay close attention to the presence of any of the above-mentioned osteoporosis symptoms:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Thyroid problems
- Eating disorders
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
Other risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to suffer from the condition
- Being post-menopausal
- Having a small frame
- Family history
- Age: The older the person, the higher the risk
- Sedentary lifestyle
To diagnose osteoporosis, your physician will keep a record of your height for comparison, watching for any decrease. In addition, they will measure your bone density through a Bone Densitometry scan. The process is relatively quick and easy and it only takes a couple of minutes to obtain a result.
Treatment for Osteoporosis
There is no known cure for osteoporosis. However, your doctor can help you manage symptoms. Treatment options include medications designed to increase bone density as well as estrogen and hormone replacement therapy to help preserve bone density.
6 Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies to Make When Dealing With Osteoporosis
The most beneficial lifestyle changes to prevent bone fractures due to osteoporosis include the following:
1. Exercise. Incorporate regular exercise. This is crucial to maintaining your balance long-term. It also increases flexibility and coordination, which are necessary to prevent falls. Here’s a list of recommended exercises for people with osteoporosis, or speak with your doctor about the best type of physical activity for you.
2. Healthy nutrition. This includes dark leafy greens and calcium-fortified foods. Be aware that dairy is not the best source of calcium as it was once believed. It’s important to watch your protein intake, which is necessary to keep your muscles strong. Remember: Strong muscles reduce the likelihood of falls. Foods such as quinoa, lentils, nuts, and fish can provide healthy doses of protein.
3. Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D won’t cure osteoporosis, it can help you prevent further bone loss. Ingesting it is the only way your body is going to absorb any calcium you consume. Living in a warm climate such as Florida’s, you can get Vitamin D by spending some time outdoors every day. You can also get it from fatty fish, fortified foods, cheese, or supplements.
4. Quit smoking. We would hope that at this point, we would not have to warn people anymore about the detrimental effects of smoking, but if you are still smoking and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, now is the time to quit. There’s a direct correlation between tobacco use and reduced bone density, and if you have osteoporosis, it makes no sense to engage in any activity that will weaken your bones even more.
5. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake. Note that we recommend limiting alcohol and caffeine instead of completely eliminating it. The goal is not to remove all of life’s pleasures, but to reorganize priorities. After an osteoporosis diagnosis, preserving bone strength should be the most pressing concern. Consuming too much alcohol reduces your body’s ability to absorb calcium, and too much caffeine can result in urinating more calcium than usual.
6. Rearrange your home to prevent falls. Modify showers to make it easy to get in and out. Install a bar to maintain your balance if the tub is slippery. Install rubber mats in the bathtub or shower stall. Make sure your household is well lit and uncluttered. Remove throw rugs. Inspect floorboards to make sure that they’re even. Always wear shoes and avoid wearing loose clothing. If at all possible, convert a downstairs area into a bedroom. Review your medications with your doctor to see if any include side effects that may increase the likelihood of falls.
Complications of Osteoporosis
If left untreated, osteoporosis can become painful, it’ll interfere with the ability to perform activities of daily living including personal hygiene, dressing, and eating.
It can also result in frequent fractures, even in the absence of trauma.
Can Osteoporosis be Prevented?
The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to integrate the lifestyle changes mentioned above into your routine. Don’t wait for a diagnosis of a degenerative disease to make healthy changes.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re experiencing symptoms of osteoporosis, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.