In itself, bone loss is a natural phenomenon. Your bones are made of collagen, a fibrous protein that provides a soft structure, and mineral calcium phosphate, which makes the structure harder and adds strength. But bones are not permanent. Like all living tissues, they change. When your body needs minerals such as calcium, a special type of cells called osteoclasts break down bones to release minerals – this is known as bone resorption. So, throughout its life, the body reabsorbs the old bone and new bone is formed. In fact, every 10 years, your skeleton is completely replaced by a new set of bones!
So, we can all expect some bone loss as we age. But some people experience bone loss at a faster rate than normal. Over time, this can lead to weak and brittle bones with an increased risk of fracture, a condition known as osteoporosis . In some patients, the bones can become so fragile that even a sneeze or cough is enough to cause a rib fracture. And some fractures, particularly those that occur in the hip, may even permanently incapacitate him. What is worrying is that osteoporosis is not a rare problem. In fact, millions of people have osteoporosis or are at greater risk for it because they have low bone mass. However, there are reasons to cheer up. Although in the past it was thought that this condition was an inevitable part of aging, experts now believe that controlling the factors that increase the risk can help prevent osteoporosis. So let’s take a look at the factors that can cause this disease.
Every day, bone tissue is added and removed from the bones. During childhood, adolescence and the first years of adulthood, the speed with which new tissue is deposited is greater than the speed with which it is removed. Thus, their bones become denser and stronger until the end of their 20s, when they reach their peak bone mass. But as one ages, the speed at which the bone tissue is removed begins to exceed the rate at which it is formed. So you begin to slowly lose bone density after 35 years of age. Now, this happens to all of us, but some factors can increase your chances of accelerated bone loss and leave you vulnerable to osteoporosis. Age of course
2. Poor Diet:
A well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and containing enough calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K and calories is important to minimize bone loss.
“Calcium and vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption, are particularly important”.
You need 1300 mg of calcium in a day between the ages of 9 and 18 when your body is accumulating its reserve of this important mineral. Adults need 1000 mg a day. Approximately 1200 mg per day is recommended after 51 years of age for women and after 70 years for men. With regard to vitamin D, adult men and women need 600 IU of this vitamin a day and 800 IU after 70 years.
What to do: Include in your diet calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, milk and soybean pods (edamame). When it comes to vitamin D, your body can form this vitamin when you are exposed to sunlight. But since overexposure to the sun can cause problems such as premature skin aging and skin cancer, you may also want to rely on vitamin D food sources. Fish oils and fatty fish can give you vitamin D. Many foods such as cereals and milk are also fortified with this vitamin.
3. Too Much Vitamin A:
Although vitamin A is important for bone growth, research indicates that excessive consumption of vitamin A, particularly retinol, may increase your risk of osteoporosis. Why does this happen? Too much vitamin A causes an increase in osteoclasts in the body. It is known that these cells break down the bone. Excessive use of vitamin A can also interfere with vitamin D, which is necessary to preserve the bone.
What to do: It is advisable not to consume sources rich in vitamin A such as the liver more than once a week. And people who have a high risk of osteoporosis – for example, the elderly or postmenopausal women – are advised to limit their consumption of retinol to 1.5 mg daily. In fact, check with your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.
4. Low Levels of Sex Hormones:
Low levels of the female hormone estrogen in women and the male hormone testosterone in men are associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis. We know that estrogen induces cell death in osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone so that the amino acids and minerals released can be used in other parts of the body. The mechanism by which testosterone works is still a bit confusing. However, we know that it is metabolized into an estrogen known as estradiol and that it is, at least in part, responsible for its bone protection properties. In women, menopause causes a sharp decrease in estrogen levels. The most common symptom that indicates an estrogen deficiency in women before menopause is the lack of menstrual periods. Irregular or missed menstrual periods can also be caused by a combination of intense exercise and low calorie intake that can affect your hormonal levels. Women who exercise too much and diet, for example, professionals such as ballet dancers or marathon runners, may be susceptible to this. In men, low testosterone levels can play a role in the development of osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol consumption or the use of certain steroid medications can cause hormonal imbalances in men.
What to do: In some cases, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be recommended. However, this therapy is not without risks. For example, estrogen replacement therapy is considered to increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease, while testosterone replacement therapy may be associated with cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can help you evaluate the benefits and risks associated with HRT.
5. Bed Rest or Inactivity:
Physical activity not only strengthens the muscles, but also the bones. And if you don’t get enough exercise or go through a long period of inactivity – for example, if you’re confined to bed – the speed at which you experience bone loss may increase.
What to do: Stay active. Weightlifting exercises, which make you work against gravity, are considered the best for your bones. Examples include walking, running, climbing stairs, lifting weights, playing tennis and dancing. A healthy person who undergoes bed rest can regain bone density by resuming weight support exercises. When people are not able to resume such activities, it may be helpful to take medications to treat osteoporosis, as well as treat other factors that increase their risk of getting it.
Smoking not only causes havoc in the heart and lungs, but can also weaken bones. Several studies show that smoking increases the chances of getting osteoporosis. This could also be because smoking can reduce the production of estrogen in the body.
What to do: Online programs, self-help guides and counseling can help you quit smoking. Studies also show that the use of medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms and your urge to smoke can double your chances of getting rid of this habit. A common example of this is nicotine replacement therapy, in which you take small doses of nicotine to deal with withdrawal.
7. Excessive Alcohol Consumption:
Regular consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol consumption not only disrupts the balance of calcium in the body, but can also have an adverse impact on bone protective hormones and vitamins.
What to do: If you drink alcohol, limit your consumption to moderate levels. Moderate alcohol levels are defined as 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. And one drink equals about 350 ml of beer, 140 ml of wine or 42 ml of distilled liquor.
8. Excessive Consumption of Caffeine:
While your morning cup of coffee can provide you with a much needed injection into your arm for the day, excessive amounts of caffeine can contribute to bone loss. This may be because caffeine can potentially affect the viability of osteoblasts, cells that produce bone in response to mechanical stress and growth factors.
What to do: Although it has been discovered that drinking more than 3 cups of coffee a day is a risk factor for osteoporosis, experts recommend limiting caffeine consumption to 400 mg per day. Pregnant women are advised to avoid caffeine completely or limit their intake to 300 mg in one day. One cup of 225 ml coffee contains between 95 and 200 mg of caffeine.
9. Eating Disorders:
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia can leave you with nutritional deficiencies that negatively affect your bones. They can also cause hormonal imbalances – an estrogen or testosterone deficiency or an increase in cortisol – that negatively affect your bones. An eating disorder can also cause hormonal imbalances – an estrogen or testosterone deficiency or an increase in cortisol – which increases your chances of bone loss.
What to do: Dietary advice that helps you follow a healthy diet, cognitive behavioral therapy that helps you identify and change unusually thoughtful and behavioral patterns, and medications can be used to treat eating disorders.
10. A Low Body Mass Index (BMI):
If your body mass index is 19 or less, you have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Your BMI is a measure of your weight. You can calculate it by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.
What to do: If your BMI is low, try to gradually gain weight. But don’t rely on foods like sugary drinks or cakes that may have a high sugar and saturated fat content and ultimately damage your health . Instead, follow a healthy and balanced diet with more calories. Be sure to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, unsaturated oils and legumes, eggs, meat and other sources of protein in your diet.
11. Certain Medications:
Several medications, including those used to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, epilepsy and seizures, can cause bone loss or breast cancer. So can the long-term use of certain steroid medications.
What to do: Check with your doctor to see if any medication you are taking can be detrimental to the health of your bones. Your doctor may also suggest safer alternatives in some cases.
12. Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Several medical conditions may increase your risk of osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of those autoimmune diseases characterized by inflammation of the joints and nearby tissues. These inflamed tissues can release enzymes that wear away the bones and surrounding cartilage. People with this condition experience stiffness and joint pain, as well as fatigue. And over time, the joints can even deform. Pain and loss of function in the joints can also cause inactivity, which can further increase the risk of osteoporosis. It is believed that hormonal imbalances, infections, genes and smoking are related to rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment options may include physiotherapy, medication, exercise and surgery.
13. Chronic Kidney Disease:
It is the loss of renal function over time. The kidneys play an important role in maintaining bone health. They help maintain a balance of calcium and phosphorus levels. And they convert vitamin D from food into calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D that is used by the body. High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease. Loss of renal function occurs slowly and the first symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, itching and dry skin, weight loss and nausea. As renal function worsens, you may notice abnormally light or dark skin, bone pain, blood in the stool, easy bruising, swelling or numbness in your hands and feet, drowsiness, excessive thirst, etc. Controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol can help reduce kidney damage. As the condition progresses, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
14. Hyperactive Parathyroid Gland:
The parathyroid glands produce a hormone known as parathyroid hormone that helps control calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus levels in the blood and bones. The symptoms seen in this condition are mainly due to damage that results from high levels of calcium in the blood or loss of calcium from the bones. These may include bone pain, fatigue, increased urination, kidney stones, depression, loss of appetite and nausea. Treatment may consist of increasing fluid intake to prevent kidney stones, estrogen therapy, vitamin D supplements or surgical removal of the overactive glands.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid. High thyroid hormone levels can accelerate bone loss. You may experience symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, weight loss and swelling in the neck if you have this condition. Treatment may include medication, surgery or treatment with radioactive iodine that uses radiation.
16. Malabsorption Problems:
Several conditions that prevent proper absorption of nutrients by the body can also lead to bone loss. Some examples include celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease, as well as gastric bypass surgery to lose weight.
Osteoporosis can Also Cause Tooth Loss:
Osteoporosis can also have an impact on another area of concern as you get older: your dental health. Research indicates that there is an association between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaws. The bone in the jaws anchor the teeth and when they become more fragile, loss of teeth can occur. In fact, it has been found that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to have tooth loss than those without this condition. Although more research will determine if osteoporosis treatments can benefit your jaw bone, scientists seem to be optimistic about it.