Osteoporosis is a condition where one loses bone density and therefore the bones become fragile and weak, predisposing them to fractures. This is most common in the spine, hips, wrists and shoulders and tends to affect women more than men. Individuals over 50 years of age are also at higher risk.
The disease is often not diagnosed until a fracture occurs, at which point the disease tends to be advanced and less treatable. There is no single identifiable cause.
Although any bone can be affected, the most commonly affected bones are the wrists, shoulders, hips and the spine.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
The disease is caused by an imbalance between bone formation and re-absorption. The body is constantly breaking down old bone in order to build new bone.If too much old bone is reabsorbed without enough new bone being formed, osteopenia and eventually osteoporosis will result.
The body needs calcium and phosphate to build new bone, as well as bone loading as the stimulus for bone formation. Without those factors there is the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Known risk factors include:
- Family history of bone (eg hip) fractures
- Past history of falls
- Low bone density
- Low body weight
Medication and medical conditions can also increase risk by increasing the chance of falls or accelerating the loss of bone density.
People with osteoporosis do not typically display symptoms. As a result the disease has earned the nickname “the silent thief.” Signs that you might have osteoporosis involve a stooped posture, a loss of height over time, and a bone that may have fractured easier than expected.
How Apex Can Help
The disease can’t be reversed or cured but proper diet and exercise can slow progression. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis the health professionals at the Apex Centre can help develop an exercise program and put together an active treatment plan suited to your individual needs.
They will also perform postural and movement assessments to help alleviate stress from certain structures in the body which may cause aches and pains. The most important factor is bone loading (strengthening with weights), as this provides the necessary stimulus for your body to build bone. When beginning to work with weights for the first time, it is important to have professional supervision to ensure the exercises are being properly performed.