Osteoporosis is a disease often found in the elderly, where bones become brittle and more prone to fractures; It is considered the most common bone disease. On the other hand, osteopenia is a decrease in bone density which is considered a precursor to osteoporosis.
The World Health Organization states that each year around three million people worldwide will suffer a hip fracture, and of these, approximately 200,000 will die as a result.
This condition, often associated only with women, actually affects men and women equally, it’s just that it can appear at a different stage of life, says Dr. Lorenza Martinez Gallardo, geriatrician at ABC Medical Center. Preeto says.
There are many risk factors that can lead to the appearance of osteoporosis, some can be modified, but there are others that cannot be modified.
Variable Factors: Excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, lack of vitamin D and calcium in the diet, as well as little or no physical activity.
non-modifiable factors In form of age Since the risk increases with age, especially in women after menopause and due to less estrogen; But for men the risk equalizes around age 65.
genetics is another non-modifiable factor and refers to predisposition If a first degree relative has osteoporosis.
and finally some hormonal problems Such as low levels of sex hormones, thyroid problems or problems with other glands such as the adrenal glands may be related to the presence of osteoporosis.
However, Dr. Martinez says that there is no effective way to prevent osteoporosis from developing, nor is there an effective way to treat it once it appears. But various measures can be taken to prevent it or, where appropriate, reduce its effect on the body.
The ideal way to prevent osteoporosis is to start a healthy lifestyle at a very young age, which will take care of bone density as well as their strength for adulthood.
Diet, exercise, and other supplements are among the life decisions a person should make to help prevent osteoporosis.
A diet that provides a good amount of calcium and vitamin D is the goal to aim for. These nutrients are found very often in the Mexican diet and should include dairy products, seeds such as almonds, walnuts or pistachios; fish such as tuna, sardines or salmon; Fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables like spinach or chard.
Doing some type of strength exercise helps a lot in strengthening bones and slowing down bone loss. At least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is recommended.
Exercises such as cycling, walking or lifting weights will help a lot, while exercises where there is no weight bearing such as yoga or some forms of swimming, although also healthy, do not bring benefits to bone health.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is produced naturally by converting ultraviolet, UV, rays from the sun. It is recommended to expose yourself to sunlight for about 10 minutes a day, although it does not have to be direct.
As one ages, it is possible to meet the daily requirements for calcium and vitamin D by consuming supplements. The ideal is to talk to the family doctor to find out what dosage can be taken.
Osteoporosis is known to be a silent disease, says Dr. Martinez, because it doesn’t cause symptoms like pain, fatigue, or any other discomfort until the loss of bone density, a weakening of the bone, is significant. that fractures may occur. a fall, a sudden movement, or even just coughing.
Depending on the gender and risk factors, relevant medical tests are advised for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. For example, in women, in general, it is recommended that osteoporosis-related medical screening begin about five years after menopause, while it is important for men to do so after age 65. Although if you have genetic factors, smoking and other conditions, use of bone density lowering drugs or even if you have rheumatoid arthritis, it is recommended that Talk to your doctor to find out when clinical studies should be done.
Endocrinologists specialize in osteoporosis care, but gynecologists and geriatricians are also trained to diagnose and treat mild stages.
The indicated study to diagnose osteoporosis is bone densitometry, a test that determines the proportion of minerals in bones using X-rays; It is a painless procedure and ideally examines the hip and spine, although other areas of the body such as the heel or wrist may be examined.
Once the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis, treatment should be given to ensure that no fractures occur. Dr. Martinez says the most common cases involve the wrist, hip and vertebrae.
Treatment will consist of non-pharmacological treatment consisting of lifestyle changes such as eliminating cigarettes, reducing alcohol intake, eating foods containing calcium and vitamin D, as well as exercising. All of this with the help of supplements that help reach the required daily amounts of both nutrients.
But in some cases, the use of such drugs may be indicated, which will bring various benefits to the patient. These can be administered on a daily, half-yearly or yearly basis and have various routes of administration such as oral, intravenous or subcutaneous. The choice of medicine will depend on the particular condition of the patient and what the doctor thinks is appropriate.
ABC Medical Center, through its Internal Medicine Area and Women’s Center, not only maintains qualified personnel as well as the necessary equipment to diagnose osteoporosis early; Also attending to all eventualities that may arise such as nutritional requirements, rehabilitation and treatment of fractures.
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