|What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis literally means porous bones. Osteoporosis has often been called the silent disease. You cannot feel your bones losing their density. Your bones reach their peak density between 20-30 years old. After age 30 the bone bank begins to lose more than it can bring in. When this happens too quickly or the replacement is too slow then we develop a risk for developing osteoporosis. Until age 65 women tend to lose bone mass a faster rate but after 65 both men and women lose at the same rate.
Everyone loses some bones density as you age. You see it in the loss of height or the curve in the upper back. Sometimes it comes as pain in the low back. These may seem like things that happen to old people but the fact is it starts in our 40s and 50s at a very slow rate. Our spine is the structure in our body that keeps us up right. For those with osteoporosis the disks may begin to weaken and the spine may begin to curve or even fracture.
Whos at risk?
There are certain people who are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis.
- Women are more likely than men (men are only 20% in the USA).
- Family history of fractures.
- Body size, small boned, thin women and men are at a greater risk but being overweight doesnt guarantee dense bones either.
- Ethnic background, Caucasians and Asians of Japanese and Chinese decent have higher risk.
Diet plays a major role. Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake, excessive consumption of protein, fiber and sodium can decrease calcium absorption or increase calcium loss. If you consume alcohol or smoke you are increasing your risk of weakening your bones.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, which means getting up going to work coming home eating dinner and watching tv, you may be increasing your chances of osteoporosis.
What you can do to help prevent Osteoporosis?
If you feel you are at risk ask your doctor for a bone scan. Start exercising, putting a load on your bones. Lifting weights is an excellent way to build your bones. Adding yoga will keep you limber and strong. Begin to take the stairs at work. Take a brisk walk. Try it again tomorrow. Begin to fit an exercise program into your lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake.
How Strong Bones Yoga can help
As part of a personal program to eat healthy and exercise I developed Strong Bones Yoga. The practice combines yoga with light weights. It is designed to help increase bone density and tone your body. Each of the 20 minutes practices can be done alone or you may combine one or more. The great benefit of doing yoga is that it can decrease high blood pressure, relieve stress and help keep you strong and flexible through your long life.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis ask your doctor before you begin any exercise program.
Need More Information?
If you'd like to know more about Osteoprosis, please visit the Osteoporosis Education Project website.