This potentially crippling condition now strikes one in four Canadian women over 50, and one in eight men (A total of 1.4 million Canadians). Unless we start looking after our bones from early adulthood, it’s a disease that can catch us by surprise. Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone”. It is the progressive thinning and loss of the density of bone and has several contributing factors.
We have a natural bone maintenance process called bone remodeling (or bone turnover) where new bone is formed and old bone is taken away. After age 30, bone re-sorption slowly begins to exceed bone formation. Bone loss is most rapid in the first few years after menopause but persists into the post-menopausal years. Osteoporosis develops when bone resorption occurs too quickly or if replacement occurs too slowly. Osteoporosis is more likely to develop if you did not reach optimal bone mass during your bone building years.
Risk factors you can’t change:
Risk factors you can change:
Take your calcium. If you cannot get your full recommended daily intake of calcium from natural sources, supplements are a must.
Avoid excessive caffeine or salt. Since excess caffeine and salt deplete the body of calcium, you should limit intake of caffeine to three drinks a day and salt to one teaspoon.
Get Regular Weight Bearing Exercise- Weight-bearing exercises place mechanical stresses along our bones and the bones respond over time by getting stronger.
Eat Healthy Foods- Calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Firm tofu (made with calcium), leafy greens, figs, almonds and salmon are also good sources. Puddings, cream soups and pancakes prepared with dairy products provide yet another source for calcium.
Absolutely, a diet rich in calcium coupled with regular weight bearing exercise are the cornerstones to building better bones. Specific exercises prescribed by your physio can help with postural changes as well as reducing the risk of fracture by strengthening both the muscles and the bones. Walking, running, dancing and lifting weights may all be suitable exercises. At Burrard Physiotherapy, we have therapists who have special training in osteoporosis. Ask how we can help you.