There are a number of diseases and ailments that are directly associated with the aging process. Aging process changes the rate of metabolism, functional activity of hormonal systems and ability to fight infections in the body. With advancing age, bones in our body also weaken and become more vulnerable to fractures.
Introduction of Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis as the name suggests, is a condition of bone in which deficiency of mineralization leads to pore formation in the bone matrix, making it vulnerable to environmental trauma and minimal force. For active bone growth, a lot of factors are needed. Besides minerals like Calcium and Phosphate, a number of hormones are also needed to deposit these minerals in bone matrix. Osteoporosis is caused mostly by deficiency of Vitamin D in elderly due to a number of factors like:
- Dietary deficiency of calcium, phosphate or Vitamin D
- Poor exposure to sunlight
- Diseases of Kidney or liver that interferes with the activation of Vitamin D
- Deficiency of estrogens as a result of menopause (leading cause of osteoporosis in menopausal women).
- Chronic bone diseases due to infections, bone tumors or steroid use.
Effectiveness of Calcium Supplementation in Osteoporosis:
Calcium supplements are widely used for the treatment of osteoporosis along with Vitamin D but there are a number of side effects associated with Calcium supplements, which are:
- Excessive calcium intake may lead to constipation by slowing down bowel movements.
- In most cases calcium supplements alone cannot correct bone defectskand need Vitamin D supplements too.
- It is also believed that excessive calcium intake may lead to stone formation in kidneys.
In spite of the drawbacks and side effects associated with the use of these supplements, it has been proven through research studies that intake of calcium supplementation is an effective and useful way of treating osteoporosis.
Some healthy tips to prevent osteoporosis:
Besides consuming Calcium supplements, following points must be kept in mind:
- Do not start calcium supplementation without taking advice from your physician. our physician will decide the necessity of the supplement and its appropriate dosage after checking your Serum Calcium levels. This is usually done through a blood test.
- In order to treat osteoporosis adequately, it is important to identify the main issue. For example, in a menopausal woman, cause of osteoporosis may be estrogen deficiency; so besides Calcium supplements, hormone replacement therapy may have to be evaluated. In other cases, the cause of Osteoporosis could be other reasons.
- Besides calcium supplements, exercise is also very important for bone health. The process of bone remodeling requires wear and tear. That is only possible if you involve your bones in active exercises.
- Another important consideration is diet. With advancing age, the metabolism slows down and absorption of nutrients from our gut also reduces. It thus becomes more important to consume healthy nutrients. A few diets that are rich in calcium are tofu, yogurt, low fat milk, ice cream and green leafy vegetables. Dietary calcium is always superior to taking calcium supplements.
- Agents like alcohol impairs absorption of Vitamin D and calcium from the gut; it must therefore be strictly avoided in those patients who are showing signs of osteoporosis.