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October 18, 2021

World Osteoporosis Day takes place every year on the 20th of October. This helps raise awareness among people and communities about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia and Paget's disease of bone.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) which is a non-profit organization that is based in Switzerland organizes World Osteoporosis Day. This day involves campaigns by national osteoporosis patient societies from around the world with activities and other events that can help promote awareness about the condition.


What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that occurs when there is a reduction of bone mass resulting in bone fragility that can increase the risk of bone fractures and accidents. Individuals who suffer from osteoporosis have weak and brittle bones that even slight bending, coughing and sneezing can cause a fracture. Some of the most common osteoporotic fractures are in the spine, hip and wrist. 

Osteoporosis actually affects women and men of all races. However, some people have a higher risk of having osteoporosis because of the different factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and age. According to the data gathered by the IOF, the worldwide statistics for osteoporosis shows that an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur every 3 seconds. Also, 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 women who are aged over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. 


Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

There are no signs in the early stages of bone loss. Yet, once the bones weakened because of osteoporosis you may experience the following signs and symptoms of osteoporosis:

  • back pain or neck pain
  • loss of height
  • scoliosis
  • muscle weakness
  • bone fractures 


Risk Factors of Osteoporosis

  • Sex. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis because the hormone in women called estrogen that helps protect bones decreases when women reach menopause which can cause bone loss. 
  • Age. There is an increased risk of falls and bone fractures among people with advanced age since there are a lot of factors such as impaired balance, poor vision, and reduced muscle strength. 
  • Family History. You have an increased risk of having osteoporosis if your parents and siblings have the condition since there is a strong genetic component marked by low bone mass. 
  • Race. Studies show that race also has an influence on increasing the risk of osteoporosis where Asians and Caucasians have a higher risk of having the condition since they have smaller body frames than other ethnicities which makes them prone to having hip and osteoporotic fractures. 
  • Micronutrient Deficiency.  If you are deficient in nutrients and minerals that are essential for bones such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin A, you are more likely to have osteoporosis. 

If you have one or more risk factors, we suggest consulting your healthcare practitioner to ask for testing and have an assessment with your bone health status. 


Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

The bone mineral density test or BMD test can measure the amount of minerals in your bone. There are different types of BMD tests available but the most commonly used test in the DXA or the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry where it measures the hip and spine bone density to assess if there is a risk for osteoporosis.

The equipment used is a DXA scanner where the scanning usually takes between five to ten minutes depending on the body part being checked. Here are the following different types of test options together with the parts being measured:

  • DXA (peripheral DXA) forearm, finger and heel
  • SXA (single-energy X-ray absorptiometry) heel or wrist
  • DPA (dual photon absorptiometry) hip, spine or total body
  • SPA (single photon absorptiometry) wrist
  • QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) spine or hip
  • PQCT (peripheral QCT) forearm
  • QUS (Quantitative Ultrasound) sound waves are used to measure heel or finger


 Natural Ways to Prevent Osteoporosis

  • Have a Healthy Diet. Your diet can greatly affect your bone health. You should include calcium-rich foods in your diet to strengthen your bones, therefore reducing your risk of bone fractures. In a longitudinal study conducted by the Framingham Heart Study, it has been revealed that fruits, vegetables, and foods that are rich in nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin D can effectively contribute to the maintenance of bone density. 
  • Exercise Regularly. Exercising on a regular basis can help delay the onset of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. It can also help maintain your good posture and strengthen your bones and muscles. Some of the best types of exercise to decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis are regular weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, and jogging. YOu can also do strength or resistance training exercises that include push-ups, squats and lifting weights. 
  • Stop smoking and limit alcohol drinking. Smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol are bad for your bones because it can make it weaker and thinner. You should stop smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce your risk of having osteoporosis.
  • Use less sugar. Avoid consuming sugary drinks and foods for it can negatively affect your bone mineral density. You should go for naturally sweet foods like fruits to satisfy your sweet cravings. 


Food for the Bones

Here are the following foods that are rich in minerals and nutrients that can help make your bones stronger. 

  • Vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, kale, okra, bok choy)
  • Seafood (canned sardines, salmon and shrimp)
  • Dairy foods and products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Fruits (dried figs, currant, orange, raisins)
  • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, poppy, chia)
  • Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts)
  • Others (e.g., eggs, tofu, seaweed)

Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health. 


International Osteoporosis Foundation
Mayo Clinic
Dr. Axe

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