Calcium and osteoporosis are barely new concerns in the field of women's health. Osteoporosis is known as the ''silent disease'' which causes dowager's hump and brittle bones.
Osteo in osteoporosis refers to bone, and porosis refers to the condition of softening. It often has no symptoms, until the bones are so compromised that a negligible pain results into a fracture.
Experts suggest that men and women reach their peak bone mass in late 20's.
“All this while, bones are constantly replenishing themselves as the old bones are wrecked and new bone tissues are produced. It is in the mid 30’s that bone resorption commences to outpace bone arrangement resulting into a gradual loss of density,” says Orthonova Hospital’s orthopedic surgeon Dr Dhananjay Gupta.
The main cause of osteoporosis is ageing. The sex hormones- estrogen and testosterone- are pivotal in the equilibrium between bone regeneration and weakening.
“Chances of osteoporosis are higher in women entering menopause. Many women dread this condition, mainly because they don’t know exactly what to expect,” adds Dr Gupta.
In this condition, estrogen and testosterone are understood to block bone resorption. Dr P.K. Dave, Orthopedic surgeon, Ex- Director AIIMS guides that in menopause their estrogen level drops leading to rapid bone loss for the next five to seven years.
Premature menopause, removal of the ovaries or uterus before the onset of menopause, some medications like asthma medicine and smoking can also increase your risk of arthritis, warns Dr Dave.
Medical studies have linked the association between calcium and osteoporosis. Most published studies show that low calcium intake is associated with low bone mass, rapid bone loss and high fracture rates; these can be all signs of osteoporosis.
“Calcium does make a difference in reducing osteoporosis, especially when it is combined with Vitamin D,” says Dr Gupta.
Nutritionist Ishi Khosla enlightens us with some interesting facts about osteoporosis; here are some of the foods which are rich in calcium:
• Milk (One cup has 300 milligrams of calcium).
• Yogurt made with low-fat milk or whole milk.
• A selected serving of fish, broccoli or ice cream.
• A selected serving of tofu, cheese or milk.
Other than calcium, various medical findings are of opinion that weight-bearing exercises- done at least three to four times a week- are best for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
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