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Osteoporosis: symptoms, therapy, prevention

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 468 views

Osteoporosis (bone loss) is a skeletal disease in which the bone substance is increasingly broken down. As a result, the bones become increasingly unstable and brittle. In Germany, millions of people suffer from it, especially older women. Read everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, therapy and prevention of osteoporosis here!

ICD codes for this disease:

ICD codes are internationally valid codes for medical diagnoses. They can be found, for example, in doctor’s letters or on certificates of incapacity for work.

E24 M81 M80

quick overview

  • Symptoms: Often no symptoms at first. In the further course, persistent pain such as back pain , broken bones, sometimes without a recognizable reason (spontaneous fractures), increasing rounded back (“widow’s hump”) and decreasing height
  • Treatment: Non-drug measures such as sufficient exercise (sport, physiotherapy) and proper nutrition; calcium and vitamin D supplements; osteoporosis drugs (bisphosphonates, etc.); treatment of underlying diseases; possibly surgery for broken bones
  • Causes: Primary osteoporosis occurs in old age, especially in women after menopause (lack of estrogen!). Secondary osteoporosis is the result of other diseases or medication (hyperthyroidism, cortisone, etc.).
  • Diagnostics: General examination and doctor’s consultation, bone density measurement (osteodensitometry, DXA measurement), X-ray examination, blood test, if necessary further examinations or tissue samples ( biopsy )
  • Prognosis: not yet curable; with early diagnosis and treatment, bone loss is stopped/slowed down

What is osteoporosis?

The skeleton serves to support our body, protect important organs and store minerals. Blood formation also takes place here.

Bones are made up of a “framework” that gives them shape and stability (matrix) and various minerals that are stored in them (mainly calcium and phosphate). This makes them denser and more stable. In order to adapt to changing conditions, the bones are constantly being built up and broken down or remodeled.

There are cells that are responsible for building bones (osteoblasts) and cells that break down the bone substance and release the minerals it contains (osteoclasts). Build-up and tear-down are approximately in balance, but shift in one direction or the other when necessary.

If, for example, a more stable bone is required during growth or due to increased stress during sport or work, processes that build up the bone predominate. If there is insufficient stress, bone loss predominates, for example in patients who are bedridden for a long time.

Even with a lack of calcium – be it due to malnutrition or after pregnancy due to the provision of milk for the newborn – the bone-degrading processes sometimes predominate in order to make calcium available from the bone substance.

Up to about the age of 35, more bone mass is normally built up than broken down. From the age of 35, bone loss gradually predominates and accelerates with age. Healthy, elderly people lose around 0.5 to 1 percent of their bone mass every year.

Other influences, such as lack of exercise, hormone-related diseases or certain medications, often have the effect that bone formation is inhibited and/or bone resorption is promoted .

When bone mass falls below a certain level, osteoporosis develops . In extreme cases, patients lose up to six percent of their bone mass per year.

Who is affected?

Osteoporosis usually occurs in old age. There is a difference between the sexes: around every third woman after menopause and every fifth older man suffer from bone loss.

Almost all patients (95 percent) have a so-called primary osteoporosis: It is caused either by the lack of estrogen after menopause (in women) or by increased bone loss in old age (both sexes).

Only in a few osteoporosis patients (about five percent) is the bone loss the result of other diseases or medication (secondary osteoporosis). More than half of those affected are men.

Osteoporosis is extremely rare in young people, and doctors then speak of juvenile osteoporosis. This is either primary osteoporosis of unknown cause (idiopathic osteoporosis) or secondary osteoporosis as a result of taking certain medications.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis usually develops slowly. Initially, those affected therefore generally have no symptoms. Only later does pain occur, for example in the back or legs – especially in the knees. They are often not recognized as the first symptoms of osteoporosis.

In some patients, osteoporosis becomes noticeable through broken bones: they are often the result of inconspicuous injuries. Under certain circumstances, even a small, harmless fall can result in a broken forearm. Spontaneous bone fractures without a recognizable reason are also possible first symptoms of osteoporosis.

In the advanced stage of osteoporosis, these occur more frequently. Typical osteoporosis symptoms often turn out to be fractures close to the hip (such as a femoral neck fracture), fractures in the upper and lower arm and the vertebral body (vertebral body fracture).

vertebral fractures

If the bones of the spine (vertebral bodies) are damaged by osteoporosis, they slowly collapse under the weight of the body or under the influence of small mechanical forces (composite fracture). As a rule, the rear part of the vertebra remains intact, while the front part breaks away.

As a result, a wedge vertebra forms, often with several vertebral bodies lying directly one on top of the other. As a result, the spine increasingly curves forward. The abdomen bulges forward (“osteoporosis tummy”), and a rounded back or “widow’s hump” develops.

The body size also decreases due to the yielding of the vertebral bodies, which sometimes accounts for several centimeters.

Since the spinal cord is usually not damaged (it is located in the back part of the vertebra, which usually remains intact), paraplegia or other neurological deficits usually do not occur.

While vertebral fractures from underlying osteoporosis cause chronic pain, this, along with loss of height and changes in posture, is often considered a normal part of aging. They therefore often go undetected and untreated.

Acute vertebral fractures are also possible signs of osteoporosis. In contrast to gradual fractures, these are accompanied by considerable, acute pain. In addition, mobility in everyday life is significantly restricted.

femoral neck fracture

Femoral neck fractures are among the most serious complications of osteoporosis. Symptoms such as severe pain in the hip joint and a misalignment of the affected leg indicate such a femoral neck fracture. In addition, it is no longer possible for those affected to put weight on the affected hip joint.

vicious circle

Every fracture of a bone increases the risk of further fractures. In addition, as we age, our muscles and eyesight decrease, and our sense of hearing and balance also weaken.

Fearing renewed fractures, osteoporosis patients often become unsteady, anxious when walking and often support themselves. This affects balance, which further increases the risk of falling. This further increases the risk of fractures.

Those affected get caught in a vicious circle of fear and insecurity, increased risk of falling and new bone fractures, which further inflame the fear.

Jaw

While the teeth themselves are not made of bone, the jaw as their holding organ is in many cases affected by osteoporosis. Recent studies indicate a possible connection between osteoporosis, receding gums and inflammation of the periodontium (“periodontitis”), but the cause of this has not yet been finally clarified.

Periodontal disease can increase the risk of loose or falling teeth. Attaching dentures is also made more difficult by a destabilized jawbone.

Osteoporosis symptoms usually show up in other places first, such as the vertebrae, hips, and pelvis. A properly trained dentist may be able to see evidence of changes in the jawbone on x-rays. If there is a suspicion, the dentist will refer the patient for further diagnostics.

How is osteoporosis treated?

Many sufferers ask themselves what can be done against osteoporosis or what helps against it. As a rule, osteoporosis therapy consists of several components. It is individually adapted to the patient.

When planning therapy, the doctor takes into account, among other things, what triggered the bone loss and how severe it is.

General information about the treatment

Osteoporosis therapy without drugs – and its possible side effects – includes sufficient exercise and the right diet.

Fall prevention is also important: Osteoporosis patients break their bones easily. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of falls and accidents:

  • The well-lit apartment is ideally set up in such a way that the risk of tripping and falling is as low as possible. Remove trip hazards like slipping carpets and exposed cords.
  • If the power of the eyes decreases, a suitable visual aid can help.
  • Shoes with high heels and those with smooth soles are unsuitable. Flat shoes with non-slip soles are advisable.
  • If possible, osteoporosis patients do not take any medications that limit their attention and ability to react. These include sleeping pills, allergy medication and antidepressants.
  • Sports that train the sense of balance, such as yoga or tai chi, reduce the risk of falling.

Avoid being underweight. Avoid nicotine, alcohol and excessive caffeine consumption. Make sure you behave in a way that is easy on your back in everyday life (e.g. sitting upright, regularly changing your sitting position, not carrying heavy loads, not bending over when doing housework, replacing sagging mattresses).

It is also helpful to join a support group for osteoporosis patients. Such groups offer advice, help and exchange with other patients.

If osteoporosis is secondary to another condition (such as an overactive thyroid), that underlying condition is treated. Otherwise, the osteoporosis therapy may not bring the desired success.

If certain medications have triggered secondary osteoporosis, it is advisable to switch to preparations that have a less negative effect on bone density. This is recommended, for example, for women who are being treated with glita zones due to type 2 diabetes.

movement as therapy

Regular exercise prevents bone loss and treats it at the same time. It is very important to choose the right form of exercise or sport.

First of all: No competitive sport is necessary for osteoporosis therapy! Efficient treatment of osteoporosis begins, for example, with regular walking. This promotes bone formation and inhibits bone resorption.

Even light running training such as jogging or walking is very effective. Sports such as yoga and Thai-Chi also promote the sense of balance and thus help to avoid falls. Exercising on a trampoline also increases balance and mobility.

Swimming is also recommended as an osteoporosis therapy. Backstroke or breaststroke for half an hour twice a week is ideal. Other muscle groups are also trained than when walking, for example the back muscles.

Water aerobics and light strength training are also suitable for treating osteoporosis.

Gymnastics outside the pool and simple osteoporosis exercises can be done independently at home. Here, too, you can already achieve good effects with a half-hour training session twice a week. You can get tips for suitable exercises from a doctor, a sports doctor or in a special sports group for osteoporosis patients, for example.

In general: Discuss with your doctor which form of exercise and/or sport and which training intensity makes the most sense in your case, and create an individual “bone” training plan with him or a physiotherapist.

Diet as therapy

In addition to sufficient exercise, every osteoporosis therapy includes the right diet. Here are the most important tips:

Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you are getting enough calcium in your body. The mineral is important for healthy, strong bones.

Nutrition experts recommend that adults get 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day from food. It is mainly found in dairy products, but is also found in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and in some types of mineral water. Calcium is also added to some foods, such as juices.

It is not possible to ensure that certain patients are getting enough calcium from their diet. Then the doctor prescribes additional calcium supplements for oral use.

In addition to calcium, vitamin D is very important for a healthy bone structure: It ensures that the body absorbs calcium from the intestine and builds it into the bones. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include high-fat fish, eggs, butter, and milk.

Doctors often prescribe vitamin D supplements for osteoporosis to ensure adequate supply. Such preparations are particularly useful for patients with a high risk of falls or fractures who are not exposed to much sunlight. The daily dose is 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3.

Phosphate is also needed for strong bones, but in the right proportion to the calcium intake. An excess of phosphate binds calcium so that it is no longer built into the bones. It is therefore important to avoid phosphate-rich foods and drinks such as meat, sausage, processed cheese and lemonade.

Phosphates can be identified in the list of ingredients on food and drink packages by the numbers E 338-341 and E 450.

sunlight and vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced in the skin with the help of UV light . With this self-production, the body even covers most of its needs. It is therefore advisable to regularly expose the skin to the sun.

Ideally, spend five to 15 minutes a day in the sun in the summer and 10 to 25 minutes in the spring and fall. It is sufficient if you expose your face and hands to the sun, depending on the temperature you can also let it affect the uncovered arms and legs.

medication

If osteoporosis patients have a high risk of fractures, the doctor prescribes additional drug therapy for osteoporosis. The following active ingredients are available:

Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates inhibit the action of bone-degrading osteoclasts. This prevents excessive bone loss and strengthens the remaining bone mass. These drugs are generally well tolerated, but their use is carefully considered and closely monitored in patients with kidney disease.

Bisphosphonates are available in tablet, infusion , and syringe (injection) form.

Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM): They bind to special docking sites (receptors) that are actually intended for estrogens. SERMs affect the bone-forming and breaking-down cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts) and shift the balance in favor of bone formation or the maintenance of bone mass.

Side effects include vaginal bleeding and hot flashes. SERMs are used with caution in known cardiovascular or vascular diseases and only in consultation with the doctor treating you. They are offered in tablet form.

Teriparatide : A derivative of the body’s hormone parathyroid hormone , which is produced in the parathyroid gland. Teriparatide promotes bone formation and the formation of new bone structures by stimulating osteoblasts.

In diseases of the parathyroid gland, bone cancer and known disorders of the calcium balance, caution should be exercised when using it. Teriparatide is given through a syringe.

Denosumab: Denosumab is a so-called monoclonal antibody. It intervenes in the bone metabolism and inhibits the bone-degrading cells (osteoclasts). Possible side effects include hypersensitivity and skin reactions and increased cholesterol levels.

In the course of therapy, calcium deficiency occurs in some cases, so the calcium level may be increased before treatment. Denosumab is injected into the patient.

In rare cases, bisphosphonates and monoclonal antibodies lead to loss of bone substance (osteonecrosis) in the jaw. This is one of the reasons why it makes sense to talk to your dentist and to do any necessary dental treatment (e.g. the extraction of diseased teeth) before osteoporosis therapy. He also advises on measures that are likely to stop the bone loss in the jaw.

Bisphosphonates and the antibodies are also suspected to be associated with atypical thigh fractures.

Strontium ranelate was also prescribed for bone loss until 2017. However, there were sometimes life-threatening side effects. The manufacturer finally took the drug off the market.

In individual cases, other active ingredients are used to treat osteoporosis, such as female sex hormones or calcitonin .

pain therapy

Painkillers from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen , acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or diclofenac, are often used to relieve pain. So-called opiates may also help against the strongest pain. In some cases, further measures are useful, for example muscle-relaxing drugs (muscle relaxants).

Physical therapy measures often help against osteoporosis pain. These include, for example, cold or heat treatments and massages. For some patients, the symptoms can be sufficiently alleviated, for others they supplement the treatment with painkillers.

Acupuncture is also said to relieve pain associated with osteoporosis. However, there is still no solid scientific evidence for a reliable effectiveness of this healing method for osteoporosis.

In the case of prolonged pain as a result of vertebral fractures, the doctor has the option of prescribing a semi-elastic corset for the patient.

surgery

In the case of vertebral body collapses, a surgical intervention is sometimes useful.

In what is known as vertebroplasty, the surgeon inserts bone cement into the fractured vertebral body. This will stabilize it. In a kyphoplasty, the vertebral body is first expanded with a small balloon. This straightens the bone somewhat and also makes it easier to insert cement.

Other broken bones resulting from osteoporosis may also require surgery. For example, after a femoral neck fracture, patients receive an artificial hip joint if necessary.

Causes and risk factors

In principle, two groups of osteoporosis are distinguished: primary osteoporosis and the much rarer secondary osteoporosis.

Primary osteoporosis: causes

Primary osteoporosis occurs in women after menopause and in both sexes at an older age:

Bone loss after menopause ( postmenopausal osteoporosis) is hormonal.

The female sex hormones (estrogens) regulate the formation and effects of calcitonin and vitamin D. These two hormones are important for bone formation. During menopause, estrogen production decreases. This is why many women develop bone loss after their last menstrual period (menopause).

Sex hormones (such as testosterone) are also important for bone metabolism in men. However, testosterone production does not decrease to the same extent as estrogen production in women of the same age. This is why osteoporosis is less common in men than in women.

With increasing age , everyone loses bone mass. This promotes “bone loss” regardless of gender. Doctors speak of senile osteoporosis here .

Overall, various risk factors promote the development of osteoporosis:

  • Diet : Especially from the age of 70, a diet-related lack of calcium and vitamin D leads to bone loss. For example, increased coffee consumption, the abuse of laxatives and too much phosphate in the diet cause the bones to receive too little calcium and vitamin D. This promotes osteoporosis.
  • A lack of exercise means that bone formation and breakdown processes are shifted to the detriment of bone stability.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol and nicotine are also considered risk factors for bone loss.
  • Osteoporosis also runs more frequently in certain families. Experts therefore suspect that there are genetic factors that promote osteoporosis and that these are also inherited.

Secondary osteoporosis: causes

In contrast to primary osteoporosis, secondary osteoporosis is the result of other diseases or their treatment (medicines).

For example, secondary osteoporosis is caused by an increased cortisone level in the body. This is caused either by diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome or by long-term therapy with cortisone .

In some cases, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) also triggers osteoporosis: the excess of thyroid hormones accelerates the metabolism and promotes bone loss.

Osteoporosis often occurs when the parathyroid gland is overactive . Too much parathyroid hormone is released, which dissolves calcium from the bones and thus promotes their breakdown.

Other secondary causes of osteoporosis are:

  • Hormone-related diseases such as hypofunction of the sex glands (ovaries, testicles), hyperfunction of the adrenal cortex, type 1 diabetes
  • Stomach and intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, milk sugar intolerance (lactose intolerance), celiac disease: The absorption and utilization of important nutrients such as calcium is disturbed.
  • Malignant tumors (such as bone metastases)
  • Severe chronic kidney weakness (renal insufficiency): Here the body excretes a lot of calcium. To prevent the calcium level in the blood from falling too low, calcium is released from the bones and absorbed into the blood.
  • Inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (“rheumatism”)
  • Other diseases such as anorexia or liver cirrhosis (malnutrition promotes osteoporosis)
  • Medication: In addition to cortisone, other medications such as anticonvulsants (antiepileptics), cyclosporine (after organ transplants, skin diseases, etc.), heparin (long-term therapy to prevent thrombosis) and certain hormone therapies (e.g. for prostate cancer) also promote osteoporosis.

Special form: Transient osteoporosis

Transient osteoporosis (bone marrow edema syndrome) is a reversible, temporary special form of osteoporosis.

Mostly middle-aged men are affected, sometimes also women in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Its cause is unknown, circulatory disorders in the bones, overloading of the hip joints and trauma (such as a fall on the hip) are discussed.

Patients have severe pain, usually in the hip joint. In addition, the mobility of the joint is restricted.

If the joint is completely relieved, transient osteoporosis usually heals on its own within several months. Pain can be relieved with medications such as ibuprofen.

examinations and diagnostics

If you have the slightest suspicion of osteoporosis, such as a broken bone for no apparent reason (spontaneous fracture), it is best to see a doctor. The earlier the bone loss is treated, the easier it is to stop the progression of the disease.

In addition, basic osteoporosis diagnostics are recommended for all people with an increased risk of fractures . It consists of several parts:

doctor-patient conversation

First of all, the doctor takes a medical history (anamnesis) in conversation with the patient .

He inquires about the general condition and whether there are any complaints or limitations in everyday life. These include, for example, back pain, difficulty climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects or pain when walking or running for long periods.

Information about possible broken bones or falls in the past is also important for the doctor. It is also important whether the patient suffers from a disease or is taking medication that promotes bone loss.

Physical examination

A physical examination follows. The doctor measures the patient’s height and weight and compares them with previous values.

Tests are used to check physical fitness and mobility. An example is the “timed-up-and-go” procedure:

The doctor times the time it takes for the patient to get up from a chair, walk ten feet, turn around, walk back, and sit back down. He may use any walking aids that he otherwise uses in everyday life.

If the patient takes more than 30 seconds to complete the task, their mobility is likely to be impaired. Then there is an increased risk of falling.

Bone density measurement

Another important part of the diagnosis is the osteoporosis test by measuring the bone density (osteodensitometry, DXA measurement) . This measurement uses low-dose X-rays to determine the bone density in the lumbar spine, the entire femur and the femoral neck.

The measured values ​​( T-values ) are compared with the typical mean values ​​in the respective age group. If these “osteoporosis values” are 2.5 units or more below the age-typical mean values, the diagnosis is: bone loss.

Overall, the World Health Organization (WHO) differentiates between four stages or degrees of severity of bone loss depending on the T value of the bone density measurement :

  • Grade 0: osteopenia. In this preliminary stage of osteoporosis, the mineral content of the bones is reduced by a value of 1 to 2.5.
  • Grade 1: Osteoporosis. The mineral content of the bones is reduced by more than 2.5. Broken bones (fractures) are not yet present.
  • Grade 2: Manifest osteoporosis. It is present when the bone mineral content is reduced by more than 2.5 and the patient has already had one to three vertebral fractures.
  • Grade 3: Advanced osteoporosis. All patients with bone mineral content more than 2.5 units below average and multiple vertebral fractures have advanced osteoporosis.

X-ray examination

Any broken bones (fractures) can be seen on an X-ray. Osteoporosis often leads to vertebral fractures. They arise as a result of a one-off event (such as a fall) or are the result of long-term, subliminal mechanical influences.

The second case involves creeping fractures. They cause the vertebral body in question to deform. Experts refer to this as sintering or creep deformation . The following applies: the stronger the deformation, the more pronounced the osteoporosis.

This can be determined by measuring the vertebral heights between the fourth thoracic vertebra and the fifth lumbar vertebra using X-rays. The measured value obtained ( vertebral deformity score ) shows how pronounced the osteoporosis is.

In some cases, x-rays of the jaw at the dentist’s also provide the first indications of osteoporotic changes. However, they alone do not allow a diagnosis, but only provide an indication of the need for further osteoporosis diagnostics.

blood tests

As part of the osteoporosis diagnosis, the patient’s blood is examined. A blood count is taken. Other parameters are also determined, such as liver and kidney values ​​as well as calcium and phosphate levels. The main purpose of the examination is to clarify possible causes of secondary osteoporosis.

The blood values ​​also help the doctor plan therapy: If, for example, the calcium level in the blood is very low, the patient must not be treated with certain osteoporosis drugs.

Basic diagnostics: recommended for whom?

A basic diagnosis of osteoporosis is recommended for all people with an increased risk of fractures. These risk groups generally include women and men over the age of 70 .

Osteoporosis clarification is also recommended for people aged 50 and over who have various risk factors for fractures caused by osteoporosis. These include, for example:

  • Vertebral body fractures after minor injuries (such as falling from a standing position)
  • Hip fracture in mother or father
  • Immobility, for example due to being bedridden for a long time or being in a plaster cast after surgery or accidents
  • Underweight (body mass index below 20), weight loss and anorexia nervosa
  • Smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Hormone-related diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome, overactive thyroid, lack of growth hormone due to dysfunction of the pituitary gland ( pituitary gland ), diabetes (type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus)
  • Rheumatological diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Bechterew’s disease)
  • Gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease, gastric surgery (complete or partial removal of the stomach)
  • Neurological/psychiatric diseases such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, depression
  • Heart failure (heart failure)
  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Certain medications such as high-dose cortisone, anticonvulsants (antiepileptics), antidepressants, glitazones (for type 2 diabetes), aromatase inhibitors (for breast cancer), anti-hormone treatment for prostate cancer, opioids (strong painkillers)

Further investigations

In addition to the basic osteoporosis diagnostics, the doctor will order further examinations in certain cases. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be necessary to rule out other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms. These imaging procedures are sometimes also important for therapy planning, for example when a broken bone first has to be clarified in more detail.

In rare cases, the doctor will take a sample of the bone tissue (bone biopsy). It is examined more closely in the laboratory. This is helpful, for example, if the other examinations have only produced unclear findings.

Course of the disease and prognosis

Osteoporosis has not yet been cured. It is all the more important to recognize and treat them as early as possible. If left untreated, osteoporosis will continue to progress. Patients increasingly suffer from bone pain (e.g. back or neck pain). The broken bones are piling up.

In severe cases, this limits the ability to work and then leads to an entitlement to benefits for a severe disability. However, this is to be decided on a case-by-case basis by the competent pension offices.

Osteoporosis is not fatal in itself, but it does lead to potentially life-threatening complications. The femoral neck fracture is particularly noteworthy here. It sometimes leads to serious complications and secondary diseases such as postoperative bleeding and wound healing disorders.

The necessary operation (such as the use of an artificial hip joint) entails further risks for those affected. Many of the older patients then only have limited mobility or require nursing care. About ten to 20 percent of all patients with a femoral neck fracture die from secondary diseases or the risks of the operation.

Overall, osteoporotic changes become increasingly dangerous, especially in old age, since many people then have difficulty recovering from more severe fractures.

prevention

To prevent osteoporosis, minimize the known risk factors if possible. These include, for example, a lack of exercise, calcium and vitamin D. Here are the most important tips:

  • Eat a calcium-rich diet with dairy products and calcium-rich water. For adults, a daily intake of 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams is recommended.
  • Eat foods high in vitamin D regularly, such as high-fat fish (such as herring), fish oil, and egg yolks.
  • Expose your face and hands (and other uncovered parts of your body, if possible) to sunlight regularly: five to 15 minutes a day in summer and 10 to 25 minutes a day in spring and autumn. Then the body covers a large part of its vitamin D requirement by producing the vitamin itself.
  • Avoid foods that contain a lot of phosphate. They inhibit calcium absorption in the intestine and promote calcium release from the bones. For example, meat and sausage products, processed cheese and lemonades are rich in phosphate.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol and don’t drink too much coffee. These stimulants also damage the bone substance.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis, ideally several times a week. That strengthens the bones.

Read everything about osteoporosis prophylaxis here !

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