The International Osteoporosis Foundation states, “Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA, and Japan…Worldwide, 1 in 3 women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will 1 in 5 men aged over 50.”
What is Osteoporosis?
This chronic condition is the decrease in bone density, resulting in weaker bones that break more easily than they should.
What Are the Causes of Osteoporosis?
Like many functions in the body, cells and tissues are in a constant state of renewal. When we are younger, our bodies produce bone mass faster than it breaks down, causing bone mass to increase. However, this process becomes slower as we age. Our bodies still produce new bone tissue, but not faster than it breaks down. In fact, by age 30, many individuals have reached their peak bone mass. This is why it is vital to nurture strong bones at an early age. By doing so, you supply your body with a larger reserve of bone mass for when the process inevitably slows down.
Your chances of developing osteoporosis depend on many risk factors. McClellan Senior Living in Anniston, Alabama, is dedicated to providing individuals with resources, activities, and nutrition that promote their overall health and well-being. We want to share some of the symptoms and risk factors that are associated with osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The signs and symptoms of osteoporosis are mild, making it difficult to notice when the condition is developing. Further adding to the subtleness of osteoporosis, these common symptoms are often mistaken as a normal part of aging. Knowing what to look out for and when the symptoms are cause for concern are key elements in the prevention of osteoporosis and slowing its progression.
Common symptoms of osteoporosis can include:
- Back Pain
- Joint Pain
- Cramping or Aching Muscles
- Weakened Grip Strength
- Loss of Height
- Stooped and Forward Posture
- Bones Fracturing or Breaking Easier Than They Should
- Receding Gums
- Weak, Brittle Fingernails
Risk Factors of Osteoporosis
Like many chronic conditions, there are risk factors within your control and beyond your control. Managing the aspects within your power can help offset those that are not, i.e., age. Even though uncontrollable risk factors cannot be modified, it is still essential to be aware of them to further understand your chances of developing osteoporosis and implementing appropriate changes to your lifestyle.
We have provided risk factors and causes of osteoporosis to raise awareness so that you can take steps to prevent osteoporosis from developing.
Factors Out of Your Control
Age: Growing older is an unavoidable part of life, and, unfortunately, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases with age. After age 30, our bodies are slower at producing new bone material; still, the body continues to break it down, resulting in the loss of bone mass. Since you cannot control aging, it is important to consider the controllable risk factors and do what you can to keep your bones strong and healthy.
Sex: Your sex plays a significant role in osteoporosis development, and women are at a higher risk. Naturally, women tend to have smaller frames than men, meaning thinner and smaller bones. This, in itself, is a risk factor of osteoporosis. Additionally, when a woman reaches menopause, estrogen levels (a hormone in the body that protects bones) decreases dramatically and results in further bone loss.
Family History: Osteoporosis can be passed down through genetics. If a member of your immediate family has shown signs or symptoms of osteoporosis, your chances of developing the condition increase.
Factors Within Your Control
Low Calcium Intake: Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone health. According to Mayo Clinic, “low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures.” Lower your risk of osteoporosis by consuming foods that are high in calcium, such as dairy products.
An Inactive Lifestyle: When you do not use your muscles, you lose strength and bone mass, increasing your risk of developing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing or resistance training exercises can help keep your muscles and bones healthy and strong.
Understanding your risk factors and consciously participating in physical activity and consuming a healthy diet can go a long way in preventing osteoporosis. At McClellan Senior Living, we offer activities and events that help keep individuals active and engaged in daily life. Beyond that, our dining services provide nutritional, balanced meals that promote an overall healthy lifestyle.
We invite you to contact a member of our McClellan Senior Living team to learn more about our services and community.