Osteoporosis: Multiple Bone Killers

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More than six million Germans suffer from osteoporosis

Millions of people in Germany suffer from osteoporosis, according to the results of an evaluation published in the "Deutsches Ärzteblatt" on the insurance data of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK). Bones naturally lose their density with age, although the extent of this bone breakdown can vary greatly. Whether a pathological loss of bone substance develops in the course of life is decisively determined by various factors, such as eating and exercise habits, sun contact and genetic makeup.

With the support of scientists from Nycomed GmbH and AMGEN GmbH, the researchers at the University Clinic in Gießen and Marburg, the IGES Institute and the Scientific Institute of the Techniker Krankenkasse for Benefits and Efficiency in Health Care have the data from TK on the diagnosis of osteoporosis, osteoporosis-related fractures and drug prescriptions evaluated. According to their projections, around 6.3 million people in Germany suffer from osteoporosis. In 2009, around 14 percent of the over 50-year-old TK insured (240 657 out of 1.7 million insured) were affected. Women fell sick much more often than men. According to the researchers, 24 percent of women over the age of 50 were affected, but only six percent of men. The number of new cases is estimated by the scientists at 885,000 per year.

Alcohol, nicotine, coffee and cola bad for your bones? Numerous factors that can play a role in the development of osteoporosis have already been investigated in corresponding studies. In addition to the key influencing factors that have been known for a long time - vitamin D, estrogens and calcium intake - researchers around the world have now also identified numerous potential bone killers. Often, these are assumed to have a negative effect on calcium absorption and vitamin D metabolism, such as the excessive consumption of alcohol, coffee or cola. The latter is said to impair calcium absorption due to the phosphate it contains. Alcohol and nicotine in turn also have a negative effect on the bone substance by reducing the calcium intake, but also by influencing the estrogen level.

Calcium-rich diet, exercise and sun Certain medications can also be used to trigger osteoporosis, with long-term use of cortisone being known for its negative effects on bone. If patients are prescribed cortisone, for example for asthma, the increase in the risk of osteoporosis should therefore also be considered or possible alternatives sought. Ultimately, however, the natural bone loss that begins at around the age of 40 cannot be completely avoided. However, by changing the diet accordingly to foods rich in calcium (dairy products and vegetables such as fennel or broccoli), a daily dose of sunlight (for vitamin D production) and sufficient exercise, the bone substance can be strengthened and the natural bone loss can be counteracted.

Osteoporosis Possible Cause of Increased Bone Fractures Many sufferers initially did not believe that osteoporosis was broken down because it was almost asymptomatic in the early stages. Over time, however, complaints such as low back pain, back pain or also joint and limb pain appear, which are particularly evident under stress. As the bone density increases, they become brittle and those affected increasingly suffer from fractures, which can occur with minimal force. In the end, osteoporosis patients are severely restricted by their illness. Therefore, countermeasures should be taken as early as possible. (fp)

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Video: 10 Best Exercises for Osteoporosis Weak or Thinning Bones.


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