This year, World Osteoporosis Day was held on October 20th and the purpose is to raise awareness, educate, and prevent this "silent disease." Our chapter hosted a successful "Milk Mustache Photo Session" to raise money for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Although it was gloomy outside, we thank everyone who came out in support and donated to our Philanthropy.
So what is it?
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes your bones weak and more likely to fracture which is cause by low bone density(osteopenia). And, seeing how bone is a living tissue, it is constantly being replaced by new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form the new bone, when too much existing bone is absorbed by the body, or BOTH. The disease is commonly seen in the hip, wrist, and spine. Unfortunately, there are not any symptoms for Osteoporosis, so most people do not know that they have the disease until they have already fractured a bone. Although there are no symptoms, there are risk factors.
Who's at risk?
Osteoporosis can affect anyone. However, certain people have higher risks:
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis
- Age.* The older you are, the greater the risk.
- Race. You're at greater risk if you are of Asian decent or Caucasian
- Family History. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis, put you at a greater risk, especially if you have a family history of hip fractures
- Frame Size. Men and women with small body frames have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age
How do you prevent Osteoporosis?
There are three main ways you can prevent Osteoporosis
1. Adequate amounts of Calcium (but be careful! too much can lead to heart problems and kidney stones)
2. Adequate amounts of Vitamin D (good for absorbing calcium)
3. Regular exercise (helps build strong bones and slows bone loss)
And if you want to know if you have Osteoporosis, just go to your family doctor and have your bone density measured, It is a painless x-ray where you lie on a padded table and have your body scanned. In most cases, only a few bones are checked--spine, wrist, and hip.
So don't be nervous and get check. Knowing early allows you to start preventative measures if you haven't already. Even if you do have low risk, it doesn't mean you are clear from having it. Be sure to take care of your health.
Better bones are happy bones!
*Please note that just because you are young does NOT mean you are not at risk. The skeleton is still growing into early adulthood (mid 20s) and it's important to take care of your health for the sake of your bones.
Sources: National Osteoporosis Foundation
The Mayo Clinic