Living Well with Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis causes a decrease in bone density. In a person with osteoporosis, the body absorbs more bone tissue and does not produce enough bone tissue to replace it.

Living Well with Osteoporosis

This decreases their bone density and bone mass, leading to weak bones and a higher risk factor for fracture. Osteoporosis develops slowly and silently, meaning that you may not even know you have this bone disease until you get a hip fracture or worse.

Living well with osteoporosis is not a complex or impractical notion. Osteoporotic patients have low bone mineral density or low bone mass and contain abnormal tissue structures. Due to the loss of bone mineral density, strong bones weaken. In advanced cases, even a cough or sneeze can result in a broken bone in an osteoporosis patient.

The key lies in early diagnosis of the bone disease and a healthy diet plan combined with physical activity like Tai chi for osteoporosis.

The internal structure of a healthy bone consists of small spaces, like those of a honeycomb. However, the bones of those suffering from osteoporosis, the bones increase the size of the porous holes, causing the bone mass and the bone mineral density to decrease. Additionally, the outside of the bone becomes more fragile and thinner.

Factors Causing a Higher Risk Factor for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that can occur in people of any age, race, and color.

However, it is more common in adults, especially women.

  1. Family History: Having a family history of osteoporosis can increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
  2. Lifestyle factors: Smokers and people who consume alcohol heavily. Also, a sedentary lifestyle where you get little or no exercise is detrimental to bone health.
  3. Being small-framed or thin: Thin people and those with small frames are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
  4. Inadequate Nutrients: A diet low in foods containing calcium and vitamin D.
  5. Certain medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, put you at greater risk for osteoporosis.
  6. Medications: Several medicines, such as corticosteroids used for long periods, cause bone thinning.

Other risk factors for osteoporosis may include:

  • Being of European and Asian ancestry- the chances of osteoporosis is higher among people of these races.
  • Restrictive dieting and eating disorders.
  • Menopausal Woman: After menopause, estrogen levels, which protect women from bone loss dips.

Living Well with Osteoporosis 

People suffering from osteoporosis are at a high risk of bone fractures or broken bones, even while doing routine activities like standing, running, or walking.

The most common osteoporotic fractures that occur include hip fracture, vertebral fracture, bone fracture of arms, limbs, wrist, knees, etc. In case the bone breaks in the spinal vertebrae, it could lead to changes in posture and changes in the curvature of the spine. A decrease in height is also a common sign of osteoporosis in the spine.

senior man running in a park

A set of lifestyle changes can help people with osteopenia and rheumatoid arthritis maintain bone health. Likewise, osteoporosis patients who are at an increased risk of osteoporotic fracture and loss of muscle strength will need to incorporate some changes into their lifestyle to lead a relatively normal life.

These lifestyle changes can minimize the increased fracture risk and combat back and hip pain due to osteoporosis. It can also help in improving bone mass and bone density.

Here is how:

Physical Activity:

Being active helps minimize bone loss and builds stronger muscles to support the body, minimizing the increased risk of fractures. However, a regular exercise regime may not be suitable for osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercises, isometric exercises, and Yoga seem to be most suited to people with osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and playing tennis force you to work against gravity. This causes new bone tissue to develop, and it makes the bones stronger.

Working with weights also helps in increasing bone density, bone mass, and overall bone strength. Brisk walks, jogging, and running also help with overall bone health. Physical activity is undoubtedly the best method to improve bone strength.


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Vitamin D:

Getting an adequate amount of VItamin D and Calcium is necessary for the functioning of bone cells and stronger bones. Adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium decrease the risk of osteoporotic fractures. Fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon are rich in vitamin D. Eggs, cheese, orange juice, and beef liver, etc., are also good sources of vitamin D and calcium.

Vitamin D rich food

Tips for daily living

In your home:

  • Avoid hunching over and bending to pick up things.
  • Get in and out of bed carefully. To get in, first sit on the edge of your bed. Then lie on your side and gently roll over onto your back.
  • To get out of bed, lie on your side, ease yourself to the side of the bed, then push yourself up with your arms so that you are in a sitting position at the side of the bed with both feet on the floor.
  • Avoid reading in bed. To read comfortably, sit in a chair, place a firm pillow on your lap, and support your arms and book on the pillow.
  • While sitting, keep your chin tucked in and neck straight.
  • Raise your feet on a low stool while sitting on a couch, keeping your knees bent.


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Living Well with Osteoporosis of the Spine

Around 55% of people aged 50 and above have osteoporosis or reduced bone mass. Many elders have a tough time getting back to performing even simple activities like getting up from their bed. However, death from osteoporosis is not inevitable. It is possible to live a healthy, cheerful life with certain measures:


Physical activity is a must for people of all ages. Weight-bearing exercises, Yoga, resistance training, and isometric exercises for osteoporosis are highly recommended for patients with osteoporosis.

Calcium Supplement for Stronger Bones

Calcium is a major building block of bone tissue. Calcium gives bone its hardness and is very important for bone strength. Women aged 50 and above need to be wary of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

They need 1,200 milligrams of Calcium a day. Men of 71 and above also need a total of 1,200 milligrams daily, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. High-calcium foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, or calcium-fortified citrus juice or cereal should be a part of a healthy diet plan for osteoporosis.


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Preventing Falls With Osteoporosis

  • Walk around your home and take stock of the potential tripping hazards. These could be unraveled yarn from throw rugs, curtain cords, and dangling electrical wires.
  • Keep hallways and bathrooms well lit
  • Install safety handles on the bathtub.
  • Ask someone else to retrieve hard-to-reach items or place items within reach.

Bone Density Tests for Osteoporosis

This is both a preventive measure as well as to your doctor about when and how often you should get a bone density test and take bone-building medication.

DEXA Sxan for Osteoporosis diagnosis

Spinal Fracture

A spinal fracture is considered a serious orthopedic injury.

Spinal fractures, require time to heal, and these shall be painful for a period of approximately six to eight weeks. This shall enable the patient to return more quickly to the activities of daily living.

A physiotherapist who is a specialist in osteoporosis and trained in rehabilitation and physical therapy is your best bet for a smooth recovery from a vertebral fracture. They can help in the management of pain associated with fractures while helping individuals improve posture and mobility.

Spinal fractures can lead to changes in posture. Spinal fractures can cause a stooped, bent, or forward-leaning posture called. This is termed kyphosis. A forward-leaning, hunched posture could lead to an array of problems, including difficulty breathing and poor balance.

Poor balance can lead to falls. Falls and minor incidents are the most common reason for fractures of the spine, wrist, and hips. The cause of kyphosis in adults most commonly is due to vertebral fracture from osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis weakens the vertebral bones in the spine and their bone density, the vertebrae are at a higher risk of fracture.

Good postural is important for those with weak bones and the issues caused by low bone mass. Poor posture hinders the balance of the body as well. This is how those with osteopenia, low bone mass, and low bone density are at a higher risk of trauma to the spine.


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Causes of Osteoporosis of the Spine

The bones in the body are in a constant state of renewal. A new bone is made while the old bone is broken down. At the earlier stages of life, the body makes new bone faster than the breakdown process of the old bone and the bone mass also increases.

senior with lower back pain

Most human beings reach their peak bone mass by 30 years of age. With time and age, the bone mass is lost faster than it is created.

Peak bone mass is sort of inherited and varies by ethnic group as well. The greater the peak bone mass, the more bone shall be saved ‘in the bank,’ and the less likely is the possibility of developing osteoporosis with age.


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Treatments to reverse kyphosis 

Treatment of kyphosis mainly depends on the age and the severity of the condition. Non-surgical treatment may help in strengthening the back muscles and rectify the deformed posture. Standard non-surgical treatment for kyphosis ideally includes pain medication and osteoporosis medication that promotes bone strengthening and improves bone mass. Calcium supplement, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for spinal health.

Lifestyle changes to have a regular life with osteoporosis of the spine: Certain lifestyle habits can affect bone density, bone mass, and bone tissues. Changing these habits can undoubtedly reduce the risks associated with osteoporosis of the spine:

Alcohol consumption: Alcohol does not bode well with the medications prescribed for osteoporosis. It is better to avoid alcohol altogether.

Smoking and consumption of tobacco: There are several studies that show that tobacco weakens the bones. Thus, the risk of osteoporosis is higher with the regular consumption of tobacco.

A well-balanced diet with vitamin D and calcium along with regular physical activity can certainly minimize the risk of fractures in the spine. A few small changes can certainly make the patient lead a normal life despite having osteoporosis.

We hope that the information provided in this article has been useful to you. Drop your comments about how you have managed the effects of osteoporosis here!