Often known as ‘The Silent Thief’, osteoporosis is a common condition seen in older adults. It is depicted by a decrease in bone density. In other words, the bone quality has diminished.
Osteoporosis likes to target the spine, pelvis and the upper leg (femur) and arm (humerus) bones. Those affected by osteoporosis have an increased risk of fracture in the targeted areas. It tends to creep up as we age, mostly after 40, where men tend to lose 0.5%-0.75% of their total bone mass every year, while women lose between 1.5% and 2%.
Females start to lose more of their bone mass once they hit menopause, due to a decline in hormonal production. Before menopause, there are adequate levels of estrogen in the female body. Estrogen helps maintain bone mineral density and reduce the risk of fracture, which is why we don’t’ tend to see osteoporosis in younger females, unless they are genetically predisposed or have another condition which is a secondary cause of osteoporosis.
Unfortunately, being female and reaching menopause is an uncontrollable risk factor for osteoporosis. Other risk factors we cannot control include: family history, being small-framed or fair-skinned, or of Asian or European descent.
However, all hope is not lost! There are many risk factors that you can control to help prevent osteoporosis. These mostly involve lifestyle choices: not smoking, low alcohol and carbonated beverage consumption, weight-bearing exercises, increasing calcium and vitamin D intake. If these lifestyle choices are implemented earlier in life (such as in your 20s or 30s), the risk of osteoporosis is lower.
How Can You Find Out More?
How can you find out more about your bones?? Your chiropractor can send you for a DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) Scan, so you do not need to see your medical doctor if you are curious. The DEXA Scan measures your bone mineral density and establishes a T-score. Your T-score places you in an osteoporotic category: Normal, Osteopenia, Osteoporosis or Severe Osteoporosis.
What else can we do?? Chiropractors can help you manage your osteoporosis and educate you on preventative strategies. Not moving the spine is a great contributor to osteoporosis, resulting in poor posture and back pain. Although we are not able to reverse its effects, chiropractors can help to keep osteoporosis at its current level – and stop further progression – through gentle mobilizations of the spine, as well as soft tissue therapy.
If you are younger, it is best to begin weight bearing exercises as well as lots of walking to help increase your bone mass. Older individuals can be informed about fall-prevention strategies in the home. As always, consult your physician or primary health care provider before starting any new exercise programs.
Don’t let osteoporosis slow you down! Talk with us at Avenida Wellness and find out what we can do for you today! We are a dedicated set of chiropractors that are focused only on your health and well being. Reach out for a free consultation or call us at: 403-271-6611