Tue | Oct 17, 2017

ANOTHER LOOK AT OSTEOPOROSIS

Published:Tuesday | August 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

This is a topic that has been discussed before, but a recent study has shed some light on important ways to treat and prevent this condition that was seemingly not apparent before.

Osteoporosis is significant weakness in the bones, which may put a person at risk for fractures. It is one of those medical conditions that may not show any symptoms or signs until a serious complication occurs. It takes a long time to develop, and it's hard to treat once it is fully developed, so it's very important to be aware of it and start taking steps to prevent it from very early.

Osteoporosis may cause fractures that are obvious such as those that occur resulting from a fall, for example, a hip fracture, and those that are not so obvious such as a collapse of the bones in the spine (vertebrae). A hip fracture can put an elderly person in the hospital, putting them at risk of complications such as deep vein thrombosis (a clot in the leg), which can then move to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), which can kill. It can also lead to pneumonia, which can also be fatal. Collapse of the vertebrae can lead to loss of height and a 'hunched-over' posture.

The traditional risk factors for osteoporosis were discussed in the previous article, so what will be focused on this time around is one that was not looked at before. A recent study surprisingly showed that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes, increased calcification of the bones. This fact may give us insight into the role of antioxidants and inflammation in the development of many diseases and their complications.

Antioxidants - which are found in many foods, especially minimally processed plant-based foods - are very important in reducing inflammation in the body. Essential oils like omega 3 are also useful in this reduction as well. Bright-coloured fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. They also contain soluble fibre, which is also important in reducing inflammation as well.

Inflammation seems to interfere with the function of hormones, which affects many areas of the body, including the bones, and this apparently interferes with calcification of the bones, leading to progressive weakness. So just using calcium supplements doesn't help very much. The spine seems to be particularly at risk and is also frequently affected by osteoarthritis, causing back pain.

Appropriate preventative dietary and lifestyle changes should take place as early as possible.