HOME LIFE COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM
Marian B. Wellington, Chairman
711 Elgin Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073-3202
Osteoporosis or “porous bone” is an incurable disease characterized by low bone mass (amount of bone) and bone quality. It makes bones fragile so falling and fractures are more common especially in the bones of the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is a “silent killer” because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People do not know they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, twist, or fall results in a fracture.
What are Bones?
Bones are living tissues that contain living cells that nourish the tissue; support muscles protect vital internal organs, and store most of the body’s calcium. The tissue of the bone consists of a framework of tough elastic fibers of protein called collagen and crystals of calcium phosphate mineral that harden and strengthen the framework. Even though the framework is hardened and strengthened, it is flexible under stress.
Bones also control the process known as bone remodeling or bone renewal.
The Three Major Issues that Cause Osteoporosis
- Low Magnesium/High Calcium Ratio
a. Magnesium and calcium are the major minerals in your body that need each other to work properly. An imbalance of these, as found in our daily western diet, is one of the reasons people have osteoporosis.
b. When there are low magnesium levels, too much calcium is lost from the bones. The loss
of bone density results in weakened bones, osteoporosis.
c. Adequate magnesium levels keep the calcium in the bones.
- Female Hormones are Low
a. Estrogen levels decrease after menopause which can cause an increase in weakened bones.
b. Women after menopause can suffer 2% - 4% loss of bone density per year or up to 25% - 30% of their bone density during the first five to ten years after menopause.
3. Low Thyroid Function happens when the bone remodeling process is not balanced.
a. The low or poor thyroid function causes not enough of the hormone for bone formation to be produced. .
b. High doses of thyroid medicine cause bone loss.
What can people do to protect their bones?
- Follow a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
a. Vitamin D regulates the level of calcium in a person’s body.
b. Vitamin D levels nourish the bones, aids in new cell development, and supports the immune system.
c. Vitamin D and calcium working together keep the bones strong and healthy.
d. The sun gives vitamin D to our bodies. As a person ages, the skin becomes less efficient at creating vitamin D from the sunlight. Thus bone problems are experienced.
e. The vitamin D level in a person’s body can be known through a blood test. Get the test!
- Adequate intake of Protein
a. Woman’s daily intake of protein should be 46 grams.
b. Protein is needed to heal fractures.
- Sodium or table salt intake
a. Balance of sodium or table salt is needed to retain enough calcium for the bones.
b. Diets high in sodium or table salt need more calcium than diets low in sodium or table salt.
- Get plenty of exercise
a. Every activity can be adapted to meet a person’s age, ability, life style, and strength.
b. Exercise reduces the risk of falling or fracturing a bone by building and maintaining bone density. It helps enhance balance, flexibility and strength.
c. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
d. Two types of exercise: (1) Resistance that improves muscle mass and (2) Weight –bearing that works against gravity such as walking.
How can people get enough calcium?
There are two easy ways to get calcium.
- Eat foods with calcium every day such as: fat -free or low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese; soy milk with added calcium; broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice with added calcium, and tofu with added calcium.
- Take a calcium pill with vitamin D included, or a multi-vitamin with calcium every day.
- Women age 51 and older need 1,200 mg of calcium each day.
How is the health of your Bones?
Have a Bone Mineral Density Test to determine the health of the bones. The test is a scan of the body that is used to definitively diagnose osteoporosis, detect low bone mass before osteoporosis develops, and help protect the risk of future fractures. The bone density test is recommended for all women 65 and over by The U. S. Preventive Services Task Force.
The Affordable Care Act, a reform law passed in 2010, could cover the cost of screening for Osteoporosis. Check your insurance website: visit HealthCare.gov for services.
Research continues to make significant advances in preventing and treating osteoporosis. Such advances include:
1. Developing new strategies to maintain and enhance bone density and reduce fracture risk.
2. Exploring the roles of genetic hormones, calcium, Vitamin D, drugs and exercise on bone mass.
3. Assessing Risk Factors.
©2016 General Federation of Women’s Clubs Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Permission granted to GFWC Pennsylvania members for their exclusive use to freely reproduce in whole or in part (indicate if excerpted) )using this credit line: 2016 General Federation of Women’s Clubs Pennsylvania. 717-901-5095 <www.gfwcpennsylvania.org>.Used with permission. May not be reproduced for sale or profit