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Osteoporosis: what it is, causes and symptoms

Osteoporosis: what it is, causes and symptoms

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the entire skeleton. In it there is a reduction in bone mass and an alteration in bone architecture; which leads to an increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures.

Bone loss is different for men and women; This can be close to 20% in the 5 to 7 years before menopause and 1% a year from age 65 in the case of women. In men, the loss occurs late, associated with testosterone levels, in a period ranging from 40 to 70 years.

Causes of Osteoporosis

The most common causes that can lead to osteoporosis are the following:

  • Age : as we approach old age, bones tend to lose strength.
  • Menopause : with the arrival of the climacteric and menopause, hormonal changes increase the predisposition to suffer osteoporosis. Therefore, factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, overweight and the consumption of medications such as corticosteroids will have to be monitored more closely.
  • Nutritional factors : Calcium is an essential mineral that provides the nutrients necessary to strengthen bones. It is found in milk and dairy derivatives, oily fish and nuts, among other foods. A diet poor in this and other nutrients can lead to the development of bone health problems.
  • Sedentary lifestyle : regular exercise helps the bones have correct densitometric levels.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol and coffee.
  • Ethnic group : There is a greater tendency to osteoporosis in people of Caucasian and Asian origin.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery : Stomach reduction operations limit the intestinal area through which nutrients such as calcium are absorbed.
  • Other less known possible causes are gluten intolerance, men with low testosterone, significant liver diseases or even professional and high-performance sports in women.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is also nicknamed silent epidemic, since, in general, it does not present identifiable symptoms. It is usually discovered when a bone fracture has already occurred. and, therefore, prevention is already too late.

However, if the deterioration of the bones is already considerable or important, symptoms appear. following symptoms or signs:

  • Slouching of the column.
  • Loss of height.
  • Predisposition to bone fracture.


To diagnose this disease, several clinical tests are necessary.

First of all, a clinic history detailed information about the patient and their family history. Then, a complete physical examination.

Subsequently, we proceed to take blood and urine samples for further analysis. Furthermore, they are carried out spine x-rays to evaluate possible deformity or curvature. However, the test par excellence to diagnose the density and condition of the affected bone is the densitometry.

How to prevent Osteoporosis?

It is important that you be aware of some modifiable risk factors that may contribute to the development of this disease:

  • Eat well; Restrict the consumption of salt, caffeine and excess proteins, these favor the elimination of calcium through the urine.
  • Consume milk and its dairy derivatives, these foods reduce intestinal transit; which allows better absorption of calcium.
  • Have a low body weight, a body mass index less than 20kg/cm
  • A sedentary lifestyle and immobility promote accelerated loss of bone mass.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking; These substances alter the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D and affect bone cells.
  • Low sun exposure, this situation decreases the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D.
  • Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables; since they have an alkaline effect that improves calcium balance and inhibits the elimination of bone tissue.
  • Check the calcium consumption in your diet; recommends daily consumption of 1000 mg of calcium for men and women between 50 and 70 years of age and 1200 mg per day for those over 71 years of age.
  • Take vitamin D, 800–1000 IU/day; If necessary, include a supplement if you are over 50 years old.
  • Limit alcohol consumption, 3 or more drinks a day affect bone metabolism and increase the risk of falls.
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on lifting weights and strengthening muscles; This will help you improve your agility, strength, posture, balance and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Be aware of the possibility of a fall, examine the safety of your home; avoid medications that depress the nervous system; Be careful with blood pressure medications and visit an optometrist to evaluate your vision.

"Because prevention is better than cure"
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