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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine and wrist.

Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. It can impair a person’s ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability or even death. Spinal or vertebral fractures also have serious consequences including loss of height, severe back pain and deformity.

Osteoporosis is characterized by a reduction in bone mineral density, which is the volume of calcium and minerals within the bone tissue. The average woman loses 15 percent of her bone mass within five years of menopause while prolonged bed rest can increase the loss to 40 percent. It is estimated that almost two million men have osteoporosis and one-third of elderly men will suffer hip fractures.

Regions Hospital - Rehabilitation Institute - Osteo bone matrix

Fractures

  • The largest complication of osteoporosis is fractures.
  • The most common sites include spine, wrist and hip.
  • Nearly 50,000 Americans die each year as a result of complications from a hip fracture.

Osteoporosis prevention in adolescents

  • More than 40 percent of adult peak bone mass is acquired during adolescence. Bone mass accrues until the peak is reached by early adulthood.
  • The average calcium intake for females aged 9 –13 years is 918mg per day. The recommended intake is 1200–1500mg.
  • Regular exercise during adolescence ensures the person gains maximum bone mass.

Risk factors

  • Unavoidable risk factors that increase the risk for osteoporosis include abnormal aging, female gender, menopause, certain diseases, white or Asian ancestry, family history of osteoporosis, small-boned or petite frame and certain medications.
  • Controllable factors that can contribute to osteoporosis include caffeine intake, smoking, not enough calcium, diet heavy in salt, carbonated beverages, inadequate exercise and excessive exercise resulting in cessation of menstruation.

Physical therapy & exercise

  • Physical therapy will be beneficial to provide comprehensive evaluation to assess your current strength, balance and flexibility. A comprehensive and individualized exercise program can then be designed.
  • Exercise has been proven to slow bone loss and help maintain bone mass.