Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the loss of protein and mineral content including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus from the bones. The loss of bone density results in weak and brittle bones which can fracture when exposed to trauma. The definition of osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” and most research is indicating that osteoporosis may be largely preventable through diet, exercise and early treatment intervention.

Statistics from Osteoporosis Canada indicate the following:
• Fractures occurring as a result of osteoporosis are more common than heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined
• Its estimated that approximately 1 in 3 women will experience a fracture as a result of osteoporosis in their lifetime
• The cost to the Canadian healthcare system was over 2.3 billion dollars in 2008
• Over 80% of the fractures in individuals over the age of 50 are a result of osteoporosis
• 28% of women and 37% of men will die within a year of suffering a fracture
• For each year after a hip fracture, the cost is $21,285 to the system as a whole which increases to $44,156 if the individual needs to be institutionalized
• Because the condition is silent, often patients are either under-treated or are not receiving treatment at all for the condition
• A woman in her 50’s has a 40% chance of developing hip, vertebral or wrist fractures in her lifetime
(Osteoporosis Canada, 2011)

Osteoporosis is generally diagnosed in a physicians office using a detailed history, physical examination and DEXA bone scan, a diagnostic tool which determines bone density.

Treatments for Osteoporosis include engaging in a moderate resistance training program, calcium and vitamin D supplementation and medication if necessary. A resistance program is important as a young person to build bone density as an individual can only build bone density until their mid-30s after which, bone density begins to decline. Moderate intensity resistance training programs have been shown to build bone in a young person however, studies indicate that even a vigorous program does not have the ability to build bone in a 50+ year old person. An exercise program remains an important treatment technique for all ages however, as resistance programs can prevent further bone loss and has the potential to decrease the risk of fracture for those in their 50’s and beyond.

Calcium and vitamin D supplementation are important in ensuring a constant level of calcium is available within the bloodstream. When considering calcium supplementation, a calcium citrate is often a better option as it does not require stomach acidity for absorption. As individuals age, the acid produced by the stomach can decrease making it difficult for calcium carbonate supplements to be absorbed through the stomach lining into the bloodstream. Calcium citrate is often a more expensive form of calcium however, for those with osteoporosis, it’s absorbability makes it a superior form of calcium supplementation. In osteoporosis, the suggested dosage of calcium is 1200-1500 mgs per day taken in divided doses over the course of the day.

Vitamin D is a term that describes a group of hormones and pro-hormones which impact calcium levels in the bloodstream through bone, intestinal and kidney metabolism . Vitamin D can be created in the body from the absorption of sunlight through the skinor through ingestion of fatty fish or Vitamin D supplements. For adequate vitamin D production from sunlight, it’s recommended that an individual spend 10-30 minutes in the sun 3-4 days a week. For supplementation, the recommended daily dosage for vitamin D is 400-800 ius per day however, in northern countries where sunlight exposure is low for a large part of the year, blood levels of Vitamin D may be quite low requiring larger dosages for supplements. If Vitamin D levels are shown to be low on a blood test, vitamin D supplementation should be increased to 2000-4000 ius per day until the blood levels are within normal limits.

Author's Bio: 

Calcium citrate is helpful for those with osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps to increase the metabolism and immune system