What is osteoporosis?
Understanding what it is, what causes it and what you can do.
Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone”, is a disease that causes bones to become thin and weak. Osteoporosis is when bone loss happens faster than the growth of new bone. When bones become porous and brittle, the risk for fracture largely increases. Bone loss increases silently and progressively.
Causes and risk factors for osteoporosis
Bones are a living part of our body, consistently growing and changing throughout our lives. As we age, we lose bone density from a combination of factors.
- Being a woman, especially a thin, small-boned woman
- A family history of stooped posture and/or broken bones
- Advancing age, especially women who are post-menopausal
- Race: Women of Caucasian and Asian descent
- Experiencing menopause before age 45
- History of smoking
- Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
- Poor intake of calcium through diet
- Inactive lifestyle
- Chronic use of certain medications
- Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Preventing osteoporosis during menopause
- Exercise: Maintain an exercise routine. If you don't regularly exercise, establish an exercise routine.
- Calcium: Add or continue to eat foods high in calcium such as fortified dairy products, broccoli, kale, collard greens, canned salmon and sardines (with the bones) and nuts (almonds and brazil nuts).
- Medication: Talk with your provider about what medications you are currently taking.
- Estrogen: Are hormone supplements right for you? Discuss options with your provider.
- Supplements: Are supplements, like Vitamin D, right for you? Another important question for your provider.
Continue to talk to your provider about any questions or concerns you have about osteoporosis and menopause.
What you can do
Keeping fit helps to fight the effects of osteoporosis. A regular fitness program will help to:
- Maintain bone strength
- Reduce the likelihood of falling
- Improve posture and body mechanics
- Strengthen the heart and lungs to increase energy level
- Encourage overall health and wellness
Managing pain and improving posture
Your doctor may decide you would benefit from an individualized treatment approach for osteoporosis that includes physical therapy to help fight the effects of osteoporosis. Some of the treatments offered:
- Individual evaluation
- Balance assessment
- Assessment of your risk for falling
- Posture and body mechanic education
- Individualized exercise program
- Techniques to manage pain
We offer many convenient locations that offer physical therapy services. Find a location that is right for you.