All Women Don’t Age The Same Way. What you need to know about Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and brittle. It is a progressive disease that can develop over many years without any noticeable symptoms, but can eventually lead to bone fractures, especially in the hips, spine, and wrists. It is estimated that over 200 million people worldwide have osteoporosis, and it is more common in women than in men.
There are several risk factors for osteoporosis, including age, sex, genetics, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, especially after menopause when estrogen levels decrease. Genetics also play a role, as a family history of osteoporosis increases the risk. Certain lifestyle choices can also contribute, such as a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity. Medical conditions that affect hormone levels, such as hyperthyroidism or anorexia nervosa, can also increase the risk.
Osteoporosis can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. Fractures can lead to chronic pain, disability, and loss of independence, especially in older adults. It can also increase the risk of mortality, particularly in the first year following a hip fracture. With our aging spines, it becomes critical to understand how to “unload” symmetrically in order to slow the progression of the vertebrae’s tendency to re-shape (from rectangular to trapezoid) under the pressures of gravity. In some people, this asymmetrical increase in load on the spine in conjunction with osteoporosis can increase, or even cause, a spinal curve. This is called DeNovo. An idiopathic onset of scoliosis that can quickly deteriorate the natural spinal shape if not addressed quickly.
Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis involve lifestyle changes, medication, and other interventions. Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, engaging in weight-bearing exercise, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption can all help to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may also be recommended. Medications such as bisphosphonates and hormone therapy may be prescribed to slow bone loss or increase bone density.
In addition to medical interventions, several lifestyle changes that can help prevent and manage osteoporosis include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding falls, and practicing good posture. This is particularly helpful in reducing the risk of fractures which can become more prevalent in a spine that is no longer holding itself upright against gravity. Physical therapy by a certified Schroth Method practitioner can be beneficial in not only managing the condition and improving quality of life but also in teaching each person how to sit, stand and function in ways that will maintain a strong, mid-line spine.
In conclusion, osteoporosis is a common and serious condition that can lead to fractures, adult-onset scoliosis, pain and disability. It is important to be aware of the risk factors and take steps to prevent and manage the disease. By making lifestyle changes, taking medication as prescribed, and working with Schroth-trained physical therapists to address your specific needs and unique spine, individuals can reduce their risk of fractures, postural collapse and maintain healthy bones and muscles for a better quality of life.
If you’d like more information about how to get your posture assessed or how to get involved in a Schroth Program, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-629-4431. We provide a complimentary first consult to get all your questions answered without any commitment required. Set up your appointment today!