Bone loss: The right way to deal with osteoporosis
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is one of the ten most common diseases worldwide. In Germany alone, experts estimate that around six million people suffer from it, and the trend is rising. But there are ways to help protect yourself from bone loss.
Broken bones, pain and restricted mobility: Osteoporosis can enormously reduce the quality of life in old age. But you can prevent the disease and slow it down.
Up to six million people affected in Germany
Osteoporosis is common. According to Prof. Markus Gosch from the German Geriatric Society, there are approximately five to six million people affected in Germany. The disease, which is also called bone loss, occurs primarily in old age - but not only.
Minimal fractures in the bones are constantly repaired by a healthy body. In the course of life, however, there is an imbalance in bone remodeling, explains Gosch. That means: more bone is removed than built up. They become porous and break more easily.
Which increases the risk of illness
"A person between the ages of 25 and 30 has the best bones," says Gosch. After that, the quality decreases steadily. People who smoke, exercise little, and drink excessive alcohol increase their risk of developing osteoporosis.
People with certain diseases such as diabetes or hormone disorders also belong to the risk group. The same applies to a genetic predisposition - if there were already cases in the family.
Postmenopausal women are particularly affected by osteoporosis due to falling estrogen levels.
A broken bone as the first sign
In many people, osteoporosis goes unnoticed for a long time. Signs can be recorded using various measurements and tests. A bone density measurement provides certainty.
In the past, osteoporosis was not considered a disease, it was part of aging. "Even today, it is often simply accepted and leads to much suffering for the patients," criticizes Prof. Hans-Christof Schober, President of the German Society for Osteology.
The consequences of undetected or poorly treated osteoporosis can be serious. In the advanced stage, the mobility of those affected decreases significantly - fractures can occur even with low loads.
Healthy nutrition and light weight training
The disease can be kept at bay with drugs that stimulate bone growth or slow down the breakdown. Healthy nutrition and sufficient exercise complement the therapy and generally prevent illness.
"The most important thing is movement," explains Schober. Cycling or walking is not enough here. Strength training with light weights, on the other hand, strengthens muscles and bones.
It is also important that the body receives enough vitamin D. The body usually produces this all by itself - as long as you are regularly in the sun. Find out how to get enough of the sun vitamin here.
Calcium is also central: it is found in dairy products or green vegetables such as broccoli.
The fear of falling
To prevent fractures, balance exercises also make sense, explains Gisela Klatt, President of the Federal Self-Help Association for Osteoporosis (BfO).
With the diagnosis, those affected often experience fear of falls and breaks. This in turn can lead to less movement. "A vicious cycle," says Klatt.
Klatt has a preliminary stage of osteoporosis, osteopenia. She says: "I was 45 years old when I was diagnosed with osteopenia through a bone density measurement." She is now 68 years old, but her osteopenia has worsened only marginally since then. Among other things, she keeps fit with gymnastics.
Klatt has also been a member of a self-help group since her diagnosis. Those affected will find help and opportunities for exchange. The BfO has put together an overview of regional self-help groups on the website "osteoporose-deutschland.de". (ad; source: dpa / tmn)