Exercise as it relates to Disease/The effects of exercise on osteoporosis sufferers

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The Effects of Exercise on Osteoporosis Sufferers

Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease; it is a weakening of the bones over time due to the loss of minerals, primarily calcium and phosphorous, resulting in a thinning of the bones and a gradual decrease in bone density. Bone production is dependent upon the body obtaining an adequate and ongoing supply of calcium and phosphate in the diet. Failure to obtain adequate supplies of these minerals will result in poor bone growth in youth and re-absorption of the minerals by the body from existing bone, weakening the bone tissue, usually later in life. This decrease in the density of the bones makes them brittle and prone to fracture.

Causes[edit | edit source]

The major cause of osteoporosis in older people are the reduction in estrogen levels in women during menopause and a drop in testosterone levels in men often associated with aging. Other causes of osteoporosis include:

  • Medical conditions such as hyperparathyroidism and chronic kidney disease
  • Extensive periods of inactivity such as being confined to a bed
  • Insufficient calcium in the diet often associated with eating disorders
  • Smoking, alcohol and drug (corticosteroids) abuse
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Effects[edit | edit source]

The early stages of osteoporosis do not produce any appreciable signs or symptoms and often the disease may remain undetected until an osteoporotic fracture occurs. As the condition progresses some or all of the following symptoms may become apparent:

  • Fractures associated with little or even no appreciable trauma
  • Neck and lower back pains due to fractures of the vertebra
  • Loss of height
  • Changes in posture such as developing a kyphotic stoop or dowagers hump on the back

Treatments[edit | edit source]

Treatments for osteoporosis include Lifestyle changes, such as taking part in structured resistance training programs, which, when combined with a diet with a higher intake of calcium and phosphorous, will serve to force the body to lay down new bone with a much more rigid structure than the fragile osteoporotic bone. Other treatments include Medications such as HRT therapy, Biophosphates, Calcitonin and Raloxifene

Prevention[edit | edit source]

Prevention of the onset of osteoporosis is the preferred approach. The risk of incurring the condition can be reduced by:

  • Following a healthy balanced diet including Vitamin D and calcium rich foods
  • Avoidance of smoking and excess consumption of alcohol
  • Regular exercise, consisting of weight bearing/resistance training and cardio routines.

References & Further Reading[edit | edit source]