Osteoporosis, what is it and what can you do about it?

You often have osteoporosis or osteoporosis without even knowing it. You often have no complaints, only when you break a bone is it discovered. If the vertebrae collapse, it can lead to back problems or become smaller. You cannot completely prevent osteoporosis, but you can help reduce osteoporosis through a healthy lifestyle.

What is osteoporosis?

Bone tissue is continuously renewed from birth to death. Until about the age of 30, bone production exceeds bone breakdown. The older you get, the greater the bone loss will be. If bone breakdown exceeds bone production, osteoporosis occurs. Women who have gone through menopause in particular are affected by this due to the decrease in the hormone estrogen. But certain diseases or the use of certain medications can also cause the problem.In the Netherlands, more than 800,000 people suffer from osteoporosis, the majority of which are women after menopause. If you suffer from it, there is a greater chance of breaking a bone. Vertebrae can also break or collapse, causing you to become smaller and/or walk crooked.

Which factors cause an increased risk?

  • old age; Men and women over the age of 70 are more likely to develop osteoporosis
  • Transition; After menopause, the estrogen level in the blood has dropped to such an extent that the protective factor has disappeared. Women who are early in menopause are at extra risk.
  • Thyroid diseases, rheumatism, celiac disease or Crohn’s disease
  • Use of medication such as prednisone, chemotherapy, anti-epileptic drugs
  • Little exercise
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption (more than two drinks per day)
  • Osteoporosis runs in the family
  • Deficiency of vitamin D and/or calcium


Measuring bone density

Bone density is measured to diagnose osteoporosis. This is done by means of a Dexa scan. Such research is done in people who have to use prednisone for a long time, if you are over 50 years old and have broken a bone or if a vertebra spontaneously breaks.

How do you reduce the degree of osteoporosis?

  • Exercise that puts stress on the bones is good for promoting bone production. The advice is to exercise at a brisk pace for half an hour at least 5 times a week.
  • A healthy and varied diet is good, and it is recommended to have four portions of dairy per day.
  • Stay outdoors for at least 10 minutes every day. The (sun)light ensures the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D ensures that calcium from food can be absorbed into the body.
  • If necessary, the doctor can supplement vitamin D and calcium deficiency by prescribing something, but do not just take anything yourself because too much can cause health problems.

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