Avoid Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a skeletal systemic disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and a deterioration of bone microarchitecture, which implies an increase in bone fragility and the risk of fractures.
Malnutrition, poor diet, poor physical exercise and the administration of some drugs can also favour the onset of osteoporosis. However, menopause is one of the factors that most influence its development in women since the disappearance of ovarian function causes an increase in bone resorption.
The prevention of osteoporosis is essential to stop the progression of the disease.
We can divide these measures as non-pharmacological and pharmacological. Both are really effective for increasing bone mineral density. However, they also work for preventing fractures (mostly vertebral) in patients with osteoporosis.
1. Stop smoking
Smoking is one of the modifiable causes of osteoporosis and is associated with a 50% higher risk of hip fracture.
Tobacco has negative effects of great impact on the bones, especially in women since they have less bone mass than men.
Tobacco is a risk factor for osteoporosis because of the negative effect of tobacco on the metabolism of calcium and vitamin D, the reduction of estrogens (with early menopause) and an increase in androgens.
2. Keep alcohol and coffee to a minimum
In postmenopausal women who consume few dairy products, the consumption of two or more cups of coffee causes a lower bone mineral density.
On the other hand, in chronic alcoholism, there is a reduction in bone mineral density by the direct toxic effect on osteoblasts. These are cells whose function is the development and growth of bones.
3. Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D
This measure of prevention should begin in childhood and be maintained throughout life. In children, we recommend a daily calcium intake between 800 and 1300mg. In the postmenopause, women should get at least 1200mg/d.
Vitamin D intake recommendations range between 400 and 1000 IU daily.
It is hard to achieve these levels of intake only with food, so it is necessary to get calcium supplements and vitamin D in postmenopause. On the other hand, young people would need minimum sun exposure (without affecting the risk of skin cancer). It allows adequate skin synthesis of vitamin D.
4. Physical exercise
Practice physical exercises in which the patient does not have to support body weight. Some recent studies have shown that exercises in which it is necessary for muscles to move bones maintain and can even increase bone density.
Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that for many women the strict observance of these non-pharmacological measures is hard. Although they are well complied with, they do not guarantee in all cases that they will not get osteoporosis later.
There is vast evidence on the benefit of the pharmacological treatment of patients with osteoporosis to avoid fractures. However, but there is not enough to evaluate the benefits of treating patients without osteoporosis to prevent it.
It is worth mentioning that to prevent osteoporosis it is not necessary to increase the mineral bone density, as it would be the case in the treatment, but it is enough to avoid that it falls to levels of osteoporosis.
Bisphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, zoledronate), estrogens and sex hormones are useful.
At the London Spine Unit, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat osteoporosis. Book an appointment to get a checkup.