Your skeleton is the literal framework of your body, forming the foundation of movement, producing blood cells, storing minerals, and protecting your vital organs from injury. Combined with your muscles, ligaments, and cartilage, your skeletal system is an essential, living part of your body that helps keep you healthy and moving.
Bones are known for constantly replenishing themselves and healing quickly, but some diseases and injuries can lead to lasting damage and chronic conditions. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and makes them harder to heal, increasing your risk for fractures and breaks.
There are several ways to get osteoporosis, and also ways to prevent, manage, and treat this bone disease. If you live in the Beverly Hills, California, area, and you’re coping with the effects of osteoporosis, Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his team at Shawn Veiseh, M.D. can help you get the care you need.
Let’s look at ways to avoid osteoporosis by examining how it affects your bones, the causes and symptoms, and how to keep it from affecting you.
How osteoporosis affects your bones
Your bones are a living part of your body, consisting of compact tissue on the outside, cancellous tissue on the inside, and subchondral tissue covered with cartilage inside the bone.
Under the hard shell of your bones are the passages through which blood and lymphatic vessels flow to nourish your bones and store minerals and blood cells. These and the variety of bone cells in your body help you heal from fractures and other injuries and help renew materials to keep your bones strong.
The structure of your bones isn’t solid, but a honeycomb latticework that provides strength. Osteoporosis weakens the structure of your bones and makes the tiny holes in that latticework larger and more prone to fracturing and breaking.
Causes and symptoms of osteoporosis
Your bones are at their strongest (reaching peak bone mass) by the time you’re 30, and as you get older, you start losing more bone mass than you can create. This results from primary factors like age and sex (women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than men), specifically when your body reduces the amount of hormones that help build bone mass.
Other factors include your body frame, family history, race (white or Asian people are at higher risk), dietary factors, lifestyle choices, and certain medications.
This condition doesn’t often show any signs initially, but you may experience things like stooped posture, loss of height, back pain, and bones breaking more frequently as the problem progresses.
Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis isn’t curable, but it can be managed and even prevented through:
Something as simple as walking or running can have a great impact on keeping your bones and muscles healthy, as they force your body to work against gravity.
Boosting your intake of calcium and vitamin D through foods like low-fat dairy products, dark, green, leafy vegetables, almonds, sardines, salmon with bones, tofu with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified foods, saltwater fish, liver, and egg yolks.
Smoking reduces the amount of calcium your bones absorb, and alcohol abuse increases fall risks and weakens bones, so it’s important to moderate drinking and stop smoking to keep your bones healthy.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements can be used to help as recommended by your doctor, and if you do develop osteoporosis, the methods above can still help, along with medications like bisphosphonates to keep your bone density at healthy levels.
Osteoporosis is a condition millions of people struggle with. If you’re at risk, we can help you reduce your chances. When you’re ready to learn more or to get help for your osteoporosis, make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh and his team. Call our office or schedule a visit online today.