Diet and exercise: How to prevent osteoporosis properly
Health experts say that around six million people in Germany suffer from osteoporosis. The bone loss leads to a significant reduction in the quality of life for those affected. But there are ways to prevent the disease. This is pointed out by experts on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20.
One of the most common diseases worldwide
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is one of the ten most common diseases worldwide. Around six million people suffer from it in Germany alone. The disease mainly affects older people, especially women. Men are relatively less affected by bone loss. For the upcoming World Osteoporosis Day on October 20, experts will point out ways of protecting yourself against osteoporosis.
Bones are becoming more and more porous
Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease of the bones that causes the bone to degrade.
"If the balance between bone build-up and breakdown is no longer correct and bone breakdown predominates, the resilience decreases and the bone becomes more and more porous," explains the "Osteoporosis Self-Help Groups Dachverband e.V." (OSD) on its website.
"This increases the risk of broken bones - known as fractures in technical terms," explains the experts.
The disease is also described as a "quiet epidemic of the 21st century". Quiet because brittle bones don't hurt themselves.
"It only becomes painful when the first fractures appear with advanced bone loss," says the OSD.
Many patients wait a long time for the correct diagnosis
And even after fractures, many osteoporosis patients often do not get a correct diagnosis. Far too often, only the symptoms and not the actual illness are treated.
If there are indications of osteoporosis - such as broken bones from an apparently small occasion - a doctor who can take a bone density measurement should definitely be consulted.
Only when this examination has clarified can therapeutic measures be taken. Even a low vitamin D level can be cause for concern.
Avoid risk factors
In addition to advanced age, family history, estrogen deficiency, too little exercise, excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol, vitamin D deficiency is one of the possible causes of osteoporosis.
Certain medications, such as those used in diabetes, can also weaken bone health.
It is generally advisable to prevent osteoporosis before the bones shrink. The best protection against the disease is still a healthy lifestyle, which at least avoids the influenceable risk factors.
Three measures in particular can help to prevent or at least delay bone loss: A calcium-rich diet, regular exercise and sufficient vitamin D.
Adequate calcium intake
In order to strengthen the bones, it is particularly important to consume sufficient calcium - and this at a young age. This mineral is found in numerous foods.
Dairy products are often highlighted as good sources of calcium. However, the OSD points out that "a high protein content in the diet leads to calcium loss".
And: "The frequent consumption of animal proteins through dairy products, eggs and meat leads to chronic acidification of the organism," said the experts.
It is therefore questionable whether dairy products are really health-promoting and optimal calcium suppliers.
According to other experts, the important mineral should be better absorbed through vegetables such as broccoli, fennel or kale, nuts, soy products or calcium-containing mineral water.
Beware of the calcium predator phosphate. This can be found particularly in sausages, in cola drinks or in the preservatives of ready meals.
Vitamin D supply and regular exercise
Vitamin D is also extremely important for preventing osteoporosis.
The so-called sun vitamin is produced by the human body itself when there is sufficient sun exposure, but it may be necessary to artificially supply vitamin D with low exposure to sunlight.
In addition, sporting activities should not be missing. Because sufficient movement enables the bones to optimally store calcium.
However, according to health experts, care should be taken to choose a sport that puts pressure on the bones.
Among other things, light gymnastics, Nordic walking, hiking, cross-country skiing or cycling are suitable.
According to the OSD, swimming is good for endurance and the heart and circulatory system, is easy on the ligaments and joints, but does not strain the bones. It is therefore less suitable as a prophylaxis and to support osteoporosis therapy.
On World Osteoporosis Day, launched in 1996 by the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) in England and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) two years later, experts in dozens of countries are trying to raise awareness of bone health and prevent Promote osteoporosis. (ad)