Most people, when they hear the word “osteoporosis“, think of older women, brittle bones and hip fractures. But here are some interesting facts about the condition that you might not have known:
- The word “osteoporosis” comes from the Greek words “osteon”, meaning bone, and “poros”, meaning a pore or a passage.
- Osteoporosis is not a condition exclusive to the elderly – it can strike at any age.
- Caucasians and Asians have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than other people do.
- Osteoporosis represents a serious health problem in men. Approximately one in five men aged 50 and over will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- People who drink a lot of coffee and alcohol, and who smoke cigarettes, are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than others are.
- People who are thin or who have a small frame are at greater risk for osteoporosis.
- NOT breastfeeding seems to be a minor risk factor for osteoporosis.
- Taking corticosteroids for long periods of time predisposes someone to developing osteoporosis.
- People who have suffered from an eating disorder, such as anorexia, are more prone to developing osteoporosis.
- Women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass in the 5 – 7 years following menopause.
- Hormone replacement therapy used to be prescribed on the long term for postmenopausal women, but it’s now thought to carry risks for heart health if taken for many years.
- Exercise will help to maintain your bone mass. Being inactive increases the rate of bone loss in both men and women.
- We all know that calcium is good for the bones, but did you know that calcium goes hand in hand with vitamin D? Vitamin D helps to metabolise circulating calcium. A diet rich in calcium from dairy products, dark-green veggies and sardines, as well as vitamin D, found in fish oils (and obtained from the sun), is essential.
- Among those people who fracture a hip, 12% – 20% die within one year after the fracture and more than 50% of the survivors are unable to return to independent living.
- If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you should ensure a total calcium intake (that’s diet and supplements) of at least 1,000mg per day.
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