How to not crack up
By RIZWANA BEGUM – Imagine stepping off a pavement and feeling your ankle fracture. Or putting your hand behind you to pull up a zipper and cracking your wrist. While a child can somersault and tumble with no ill effects other than a grazed elbow or knee, someone with osteoporosis is at risk of breaking bones from any jarring movement or fall.
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It’s easy to detect osteoporosis when the back starts to curve and people get bent over, but often porous bones are less obvious until revealed by a bone density scan or by a fracture.
For yourself even if you are young, and for older family members, awareness of the condition can help prevent pain and loss of mobility.
Osteoporosis is a medical condition resulting from a loss of bone mass, leaving bones porous and more fragile. Think of a dense material becoming a holey sponge. The stage before full-blown osteoporosis is osteopenia. As osteopenia is a mild form of bone loss, there is a chance to salvage it before it progresses into osteoporosis.
How can I prevent osteopenia from developing into osteoporosis?
Here are some simple and easily adoptable steps to take:
- Do weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, dancing
- Improve balance and strength through activities like yoga and tai chi
- Increase intake of calcium and eat more vitamin D-rich foods
- Take bisphosphonates to help prevent bone loss
- Ask your doctor whether you should be prescribed hormone medication to increase estrogen production – estrogen helps maintain bone mass but might not be suitable for all
- Get regular bone density scans
- Remove home hazards that lead to falls
- Quit smoking and avoid excessive drinking
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