Exercise decreases Osteoporosis and bone fractures

Low bone mass and structural deterioration of the remaining bone tissue leads to fragile bones which are very susceptible to fractures.

About 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis. Another 18 million have low bone mass which puts them at risk for osteoporosis.

Have you sat at a long dinner table recently, for women only. Lets say the table is long enough to seat 20 women each side. One entire side will suffer an osteoporosis related fracture. Half of the women over 50 will experience such fractures. Had the table been for men over 50, five of them would have been destined for an osteoporosis related fracture.

Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures each year, including 300,000 hip fractures, 700,000 vertebrae fractures and 250,000 wrist fractures.

Women can lose up to 20 % of their bone mass in the 5-7 years after menopause, which makes them more susceptible to osteoporosis. Consuming enough calcium combined with regular weight bearing exercise is vital during these years.

Regular exercise maintains bone mass.

Halt osteoporosis. 
According to the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, vol 12, 1997,
women over the age of 50 who currently walk (or cycle outdoors) for more
than 30 minutes a day are 20% less likely to develop dowager's hump as a
result of osteoporosis. 

Walking is the simplest exercise, but running, biking and swimming work too. Bearing weight on your body, plus movement across the planet, does retain more bone mass than non weight bearing exercise. However, because the amount of muscle mass affects bone mass, swimming, weight training and other non-impact exercises are also very effective in decreasing risk from osteoporosis.

Exercise will help to preserve your present bone mass, while giving a nudge to increase bone mass. The younger you start exercising regularly, the more bone mass you will retain.

Women's death from hip fracture risk is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. On average, 24 % of hip fracture patients over 50 will die in the year following a hip fracture.

Make sure you consume vitamin D with your calcium to aid calcium absorption.

Milk products, including non fat milk, are fortified with vitamin D. You'll need magnesium for strong bones too.

Caffeine and soda can decrease your calcium level.

Caffeine increases calcium loss because it's a diuretic. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the phosphates in soda may interfere with calcium absorption. A soda with caffeine hits you from both angles.

Medications which reduce bone density include steroids such as prednisone and Flovent.

Medications to decrease osteoporosis include Fosomax (the strongest bone builder), Evista, and for the spine only, Miacalcin.

Raloxifene, which has about two-thirds the bone-building power of Fosomax, but it seems to lower "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood.

Ladies can take hormone replcement therapy (estrogen replacement therapy) to increase bone density, but do exercise also. Hormone replacement does have side effects. Done properly, exercise has no side effects.

Osteoporosis Drug Awaiting approval.

Actonel, presently used for Paget's disease, may be the next treatment for Osteoporosis. Accoding to one study, Actonel reduced spinal fractures in post menopausal subjects (women mostly, ha ha) by 49 percent, while also reducing other fractures by 39 percent.


National Osteoporosis Foundation
or see "Medscape" for more details on osteoporosis drugs
Gentle and enjoyable exercise is the key to regular healthy exercise and a healthy life
More health and fitness topics from author and Registered Nurse David Holt

Bone density test for this silent killer...see below.

Risk factors for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis risk factors.
poor diet especially if low in calcium and vitamin D intake
low body weight
advanced age
female
eating disorder
family history of osteoporosis
estrogen deficiency in women
smoking or heavy drinking
sedentary lifestyle
lack of weight-bearing exercise
long term steroid use, antiseizure drugs or thyroid hormone
gastrointestinal disease which hinder calcium uptake

How much calcium to maintain solid bone mass?

How much calcium do you need
The National Institute of Health recommends
1,500 milligrams for all people above age 65
and 1,500 for 50-65 year old post menopausal women NOT taking estrogen 

1,200-1,500 for all 11-24 year-olds
and for pregnant or lactating people (probably women)

1,000 milligrams per day for all other adults

800-1,200 for children from one year up to 11.

You adults will also need 200 international units of vitamin D if you're young, and up to 800 IUs per day if post menopausal.

Top food sources for calcium

Calcium per cup unless otherwise stated.

Collard greens is the champion at 357 mg, but most green vegetables contain a goodly
supply of calcium
Canned sardines (8 medium) 354 mg
Yogurt (8 ounce) 345 mg
Skimmed Milk 303 mg
Fortified Orange Juice 300 mg
Spinach 245 mg

Bone density test for this silent killer.

The typical osteoporosis sufferer is unaware he or she has the disease until a bone snaps,
either from the bones weakness, or secondary to a fall.
The national Osteoporosis Foundation recommends testing bone density in ALL women 
over 64 even if they have non if the risk factors listed above. 
If post menopausal with just one risk factor, or you’ve had a broken bone you should also
be tested.
Fairly reliable testing can be done cheaply by gauging the forearm density. Now that 
Medicare covers the cost of tests, your doctors may recommend an x-ray to confirm 
density (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry).
The cost of these tests would get you about six hours in a hospital bed, or pay one 
registered nurse to look after you for 8 hours. The tests are a fraction of the cost of 
rehabilitation from a broken hip, and you suffer no pain.

Hip fractures are fatal for 10-20 percent of the women who get them! Hip fractures kill about 50,000 people per year!


More health and fitness topics from author and Registered Nurse David Holt
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Regular Exercise decreases Osteoporosis and bone fractures.