Bone density is a much misunderstood condition that can become serious in persons as they age. Chronically weak bones with low density is a disease called osteoporosis by physicians. This treacherous condition puts sufferers at constant risk of broken bones in the most trivial accidents. While we exercise our muscles, we are also improving our bone density. But, exercise alone is not enough to prevent osteoporosis.
We tend to understand our muscle composition much better than our skeletal structure. Bone is living tissue that is constantly broken down and rebuilt behind every day of our lives. When we are young, our bones are reconstructed at a very rapid pace. Even without any external influences, our bone density naturally begins to weaken after our 20’s as bones begin to take longer to rebuild. By age 40, most of us are a risk of osteoporosis.
What are the Risk Factors
Several factors contribute to that increased risk, including diminishing testosterone levels in men and diminishing estrogen levels in women. Women who are post-menopause are at a high risk of low bone density. In fact, Asian and Caucasian post- menopausal women are the highest risk group of osteoporosis.
In males, the testosterone level naturally begins to erode at about 1 percent per year. 40-year old men and women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than are 30-year old men and women. While low estrogen and testosterone levels can contribute to osteoporosis, there are many other contributing factors.
Other factors include your genetic history. If the individual has a parent or sibling suffering osteoporosis, they are at a higher risk than persons without a genetic link. Another risk factor is the frame size of the individual. Persons with small frames are more likely to contact osteoporosis than person with larger frames.
There are several medical conditions that, regardless of the individual’s genetic composition, can promote weak bones. As mentioned, the natural decrease in estrogen and testosterone are influences but thyroid issues and other glandular problems can also cause loss of bone mass.
Osteoporosis is also encouraged or discouraged by our lifestyle choices. Weak bones are low on calcium. Poor calcium intake can expedite chronic osteoporosis. Persons who suffer eating disorders or who do not eat sufficiently are at great risk of lack of bone density. Food intake should be sensible, not extreme.
Persons who have had transplants or weight loss surgery are prone to weak bone density because of the extreme medications they must use. Likewise, high steroid intake and certain other drugs can expedite bone weakness.
As with many other diseases, osteoporosis can be prevented by a healthy, smoke-free, lifestyle that features a balanced diet and a low amount of alcohol intake. Being active is also a solid preventive therapy. Sedentary persons are more prone to osteoporosis than are active people. If you have a desk job, you should walk or exercise every day.
How Many Osteoporosis Sufferers Are There?
According to Emedtv 1.5 million fractures occur every year in the US. The annual cost of these fractures is $14 billion annually. 700,000 of those fractures are vertebral. 300,000 are hip fractures and 250,000 are wrist fractures.
In the US, 10 million men and women already have osteoporosis and another 34 million are suffering low bone density. Half of American women aged 50 or more have suffered a low bone density fracture during their life. 25 percent of American men are is the same position. While osteoporosis is generally contracted by persons over 40, low bone mass can be encountered at any age.
Concerned persons can request a bone density test from a physician. The physician will evaluate the bone mineral content and recommend therapies to improve your bone strength.
We are what we eat. Be smart, understand the content of foods you eat. Walk every day and engage in resistance training on a sensible, regular regimen and you can greatly diminish your risk of osteoporosis.
Jeff Mcneil is a nutritionist and avid blogger. He writes for Hydroxycut and contributes on various health blogs.