The fast facts:
- Osteoporosis is most common in people over the age of 50.
- Your lifestyle has a strong influence on the development of osteoporosis.
- With proper nutrition and strength training, you are in control!
From the moment we are born, our bodies are developing non-stop. First we grow from a baby into a strong and resilient human being with a physical peak often around the age of 25. Then we notice that we slowly start to age. This process is visible on the outside (think of the skin), but is just as much going on inside. After our 45th year of life on average the breakdown of bone will accelerate compared to the production of new bone. In women we see that this process is even faster because the estrogen level decreases after menopause. At the moment that the bone density is reduced, osteoporosis (osteoporosis) may possibly occur. The presence of osteoporosis makes bones very porous and thus a lot more vulnerable in case of a fall, for example.
Osteoporosis or osteopenia
The moment the quality of the bones deteriorates, we do not immediately speak of osteoporosis. Between a "normal" bone density and osteoporosis we place the term osteopenia. This literally means "a shortage of bone". Of having osteopenia you feel nothing and in many cases you notice little. When you have osteopenia we do not immediately see an increased risk of bone fractures. However, when osteopenia is detected, it is important to take action. This is to prevent osteoporosis, in osteoporosis the risk of a fracture is greater.
Gradations of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is most commonly seen in the hips/pelvis and back. It is often discovered after the occurrence of a fracture and/or abnormal length loss. To estimate whether and to what degree osteoporosis is present, a classification is used;
- a T-score of -1.0/+1.0 (no problem)
- a T-score of -1.0/-2.5 (osteopenia)
- A T-score of -2.5 or lower (osteoporosis)
Risk factors for developing osteoporosis
Several factors are known to contribute to the development of osteoporosis.
- Long-term use of corticosteroids (prednisolone)
- A low body weight (BMI <20)
- Women's transition
- Little physical activity
In addition, osteoporosis can also occur in combination with other conditions such as:
- Bowel Problems
- Rheumatoid arthritis (and related conditions)
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a DEXA scan. This is a device that can determine the degree of bone density by means of X-rays. In the Netherlands, people older than 50 after a bone fracture are also called for a DEXA scan. This helps to detect osteoporosis in time and advise people to start with treatment plan. In addition, blood tests are often done to determine if there is subsequent vitamin D and calcium in the body.
Symptoms in osteoporosis
Osteoporosis itself is painless. So you don't notice it at first. It only becomes a problem when you fall and possibly break something. After a bone fracture the diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually made by means of a dexa-scan. So the fracture is what causes the symptoms.
A fracture of the spine mainly causes complaints during movement. Standing up from a chair, for example, causes pain in the back. It is less painful with a somewhat stooped posture. This is often also typical for people with osteoporosis. We call this posture kyphosis.
The treatment of osteoporosis
As we age, our body's calcium requirements increase. Calcium is needed for a good condition of our bones. Calcium is found in foods such as; dairy, soy and various vegetables/nuts/legumes. Do you find it difficult to get enough calcium from these products? Then you can discuss with your doctor whether it is useful to use extra calcium tablets.
Calcium in itself can do little without vitamin D. The body desperately needs vitamin D to absorb calcium into the blood and bind it to the bones. To ensure sufficient vitamin D in the body you do this by going outside sufficiently. Sunlight is a natural stimulant for the production of vitamin D. In addition, you can include certain products in your diet such as fatty fish, butter, meat and eggs. Do you find it difficult to get enough calcium and / or vitamin D. Sometimes supplements can be a good addition. Consult with your doctor or physician.
Obviously, we think it is good if you with osteoporosis pay attention to calcium and vitamin D intake. However, food with additional minerals and vitamins are not enough. In fact, research shows little or no result with only the use of calcium and vitamin D. What does? A combination must be made with physical load. Exercise stimulates our bone production, regardless of age or degree of osteoporosis. Various scientific studies have already shown that strength training in particular has a positive effect on the production of bone tissue. Besides the fact that this type of training is good for the bones, we also see positive effects on the quality of joints, muscle strength and muscle mass.
Rehabilitation at Fysio Fitaal
With osteoporosis you have come to the right place with the physiotherapists of Fysiofitaal. With our extensive knowledge of active aging and training, we can optimally guide you to independently inhibit or improve osteoporosis. In addition, our approach ensures that the risk of falling decreases. This makes it possible for you to continue to perform daily activities and hobbies without problems. To achieve the right results, it is necessary to keep exercising and moving. So think about the long term!