As you get older this loss of bone density occurs naturally and can happen in women after menopause. Oestrogen, the female hormone produced by the ovaries, helps bones to take up calcium. After menopause, the drop in oestrogen levels causes less calcium to be absorbed by bones, and more to be lost by the body.
Men are also susceptible to osteoporosis as they get older. This table shows how the risk of osteoporosis increases with age:
A fall or hard knock, and sometimes doing routine things like bending, lifting or just getting up from a chair can cause fractures. This happens because brittle bones have trouble supporting body weight.
As the vertebrae of the spine weaken they compress and the spine curves.
The following increase your risk of developing osteoporosis:
People with the greatest risk of getting osteoporosis include:
Talk to your Unichem Pharmacist if you have one or more of the above risk factors.
Bone reaches its peak density when you are between 30 to 35 years old. Making sure you have as much bone density as possible before then helps to prevent osteoporosis. Exercise and a varied diet with plenty of calcium helps you maintain bone mass. Keeping your weight within a healthy range also helps to maintain bone mass.
Weight-bearing physical activity which puts moderate stress on bones may stimulate new bone growth. These activities include walking, tennis, jogging, yoga, dancing, cycling, golf and low impact aerobics. Physical activity is also important for the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably every day of the week.
Calcium in your food helps to keep your bones strong. When your body does not get the calcium it needs from the food and dairy products you eat, it uses up calcium stored in bones. Eating food high in calcium throughout your life helps maintain good bone mass. Milk products are one of the best sources of easily absorbed calcium.
Vitamin D also helps your body to absorb calcium. Most people get enough vitamin D through general exposure to sun. About 20 minutes each day is recommended but avoid direct sunlight exposure between the peak UV time of 10am – 4pm. People who are house-bound, elderly people who live in care and women who wear veils for religious or cultural reasons may need to take vitamin D supplements. Talk to your Unichem Pharmacist or doctor about the supplements that are right for you.