What is Osteoporosis?
It occurs when bones become porous, which can lead to an increased risk of fracture, especially at the hip, spine and wrist.
Osteoporosis has been found to affect one in two women and one in five men who are over the age of 50.
Fractures that are caused as a result of it, can mean a loss of independence and also pose an increased risk of mortality.
During menopause, osteoporosis is also linked to other diseases, one of which being cardiovascular disease.
So what are the causes?
The main reason is genetic. If you have a family history of it, then you are more likely to have or get osteoporosis. If you are Caucasian or Asian female then are you also more likely to be at risk.
Some things that you do which are part of your lifestyle can also make you more susceptible and these include:
· Not taking part in any load-bearing activity. If you are a swimmer or cycler for example, your bone health might not be as good as someone who engages in more high-load resistance training.
· Have a body mass index of less than or equal to 19.
· Smoke (or have in the past 10 years) more than 15 cigarettes a day.
· Drink more than the government recommended amount of alcohol units for your gender.
· Use certain medication such as glucocorticoids, which will affect your bone metabolism.
· Do not have enough Calcium in your diet.
· Have low levels of Vitamin D because you spend little to no time outdoors or have none in your diet.
· Have a condition that may prevent your body from absorbing calcium, such as a gastric band or gastro-intestinal disorders.
· Going through or have gone through the menopause.
· Have had to have an early hysterectomy.
How do I know if I have got osteoporosis?
The only conclusive way to know for sure if you have a bone scan, known as a DEXA scan. These need to be referred by your GP and will be conducted in a hospital.
In the meantime, what can I do to prevent osteoporosis?
· Add some impact or high-load resistance training that is varied and directional.
· To target the upper body, try to use multi joint compound movements that recruit multiple muscles in one exercise such as bent over rows, bench press and shoulder press
· To target the lower body, try to use multi joint compound movements that recruit multiple muscles in one exercise such as squats, deadlifts and lunges.
· Consume 800 mg calcium per day from foods such as green leafy vegetables, dairy products and tofu.
· Consume 10mg Vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and red meat.
· Top up your Vitamin D levels by spending more time in sunlight!
Some of the information for this blog was taken from an article in ‘fitpro’ featuring results of a study conducted by Staffordshire University.