Osteoporosis is a general decrease in bone density resulting in fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures. The structure of the bone is decreased, but the overall shapes remain intact. Osteoporosis is much more common in females than males and the ratio becomes even more uneven as individuals approach the age of eighty. The condition mainly results from an imbalance between bone reabsorption and bone formation.
There are 3 different types of Osteoporosis:
1) Postmenopausal, which is thought to result from an estrogen/testosterone ratio deficiency.
2) Senile osteoporosis, which occurs in women and men due to a decrease in bone formation and decrease in vitamin D formation later in life.
3) Secondary osteoporosis, which is due to medications or any other condition resulting in bone loss.
What are some of the risk factors that we should try to avoid to lower our risk of osteoporosis? One risk factor that we cannot control is genetic predisposition. Strenuous exercise leading to amenorrhea in females should be avoided (common in marathon runners). Smoking and large consumption of alcohol will also increase your risk of osteoporosis. Lastly, low intake of calcium and vitamin D can result in a low formation of bone, which over time can lead to osteoporosis. Properly exercising throughout your lifetime can help to prevent osteoporosis. This exercise routine does not have to be strenuous as long as it is weight-bearing and involves walking. Proper supplementation is one of the best ways to help prevent secondary osteoporosis. With proper treatment, the progression of osteoporosis can be slowed or even stopped. Remember, exercising throughout your lifetime is the best way to prevent disease later in life.