GEHA | October 29, 2018
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. It affects both men and women, but is most likely to occur in women after menopause because of the decrease in estrogen.
As bones become weaker, there is a higher risk of a fracture during a fall. Bones can become so brittle that even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. These fractures are most common in the hip, wrist or spine. Fractures of the spine or hips are the most serious complication of osteoporosis because they can result in disability.
Bone loss that leads to osteoporosis develops slowly, and often there are no symptoms or outward signs. A person may not know they have it until they have a fracture occurs after a minor incident, such as a fall, or even a cough or sneeze.
Certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of osteoporosis. They include:
The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent osteoporosis. It is now largely treatable with a combination of lifestyle changes and appropriate medical treatment.
Good nutrition and regular exercise are important for keeping your bones healthy. Your diet should be rich in protein, calcium and vitamin D. Combine strength-training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises. Being underweight increases your chances of bone loss and fractures; strive to maintain a healthy weight.
Mayoclinic.org “Osteoporosis.” Mayoclinic.org, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Medicalnewstoday.com “Osteoporosis explained.” Medicalnewstoday.com, Healthline Media UK, Ltd., 4 January 2018.