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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that millions are at risk for. Osteoporosis, also called the silent disease, frequently has no symptoms until the first break or fracture occurs. Osteoporosis can ruin a sufferer's standard of living and can lead to extremely serious complications. Luckily, there are preventative measures that can be taken to help diminish and prevent the ravages of this disease.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become increasingly fragile and are much more likely to break. If osteoporosis is not prevented or left untreated, the disease can progress painlessly. Then, a bone breaks or fractures, typically in the hip, spine or wrist. A fracture of the hip almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery - this type of fracture can lead to difficulty in walking, prolonged disability and even death.

Spinal fractures, or the crumbling of the vertebrae, can impact a person's ability to walk. Deformity is a common side effect and sufferers of osteoporosis assume a distinctive, hunched-over posture.

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?

Millions of Americans are at risk for osteoporosis. Though four times more men than women are affected, both genders must be aware of the risks and prevention techniques needed to help avoid osteoporosis.

Age is the main risk factor. Persons who are thin, or small-boned (and weight 127 lb. or less) are at increased risk. Some prescription medications increase the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, Caucasian and Asian women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis prevention

There are two main methods of osteoporosis prevention.

First and foremost, calcium supplementation or a diet that contains adequate levels of calcium is necessary to prevent the body from robbing the bones of calcium. A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D (necessary to metabolize calcium) can help to prevent osteoporosis.

Second, exercise can help to build up bone density and bone strength. Bones are living tissue, just like muscles, that grow and become stronger when they are exercised. Load-bearing and resistance-based exercises are the types that help to increase bone density and thus prevent osteoporosis.

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