You must be knowing the saying “Time and Tide wait for None”. Time is non-stop which keeps on going. In course of time we become older day by day and year by year.
Today, man’s life-span/average/maximum age has increased because of the development of medical/surgical facilities, delaying deaths due to many diseases. However, man’s maximum age is still below one hundred years only and seventy years has become today’s optimum age. People living above one hundred years are very rare. But, many men and women live beyond seventy. It depends on the health conditions of the people, mainly the strength of:-
- and the brain.
If people live beyond seventy years, it is ideal if they have good health. They must be able to walk of their own. They must have good eye-sight and hearing.
Living in old age, above seventy, without normal health will be a curse, instead of a boon.
Apart from the health and strength of heart etc. as mentioned above, the density/strength of the bones is another important factor affecting the health conditions of old people. Some people will have strong heart and healthy lungs. But the bones of old people become weak losing collagen, protein, and calcium which help to strengthen bones. The condition of bones becoming weak is called “Osteoporosis”.
Causes and Risk Factors of Osteoporosis:-
- Gender: Females rather than males are at more risk,
- Thin and small body frames,
- Family history of osteoporosis,
- Excessive alcohol consumption,
- Lack of Physical Exercise,
- Lack of Calcium in diet,
- Poor nutition,
- Low estrogen levels,
- Vitamin D deficiency and
- Prolonged use of certain medications.
The density of the bones will increase during childhood and will reach its maximum at the age of 25. Bone density is then maintained for about ten years. After age 35, both men and women will normally lose 0.3% to 0.5% of their bone density per year as part of the aging process.
Estrogen is important in maintaining bone density in women. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, bone loss accelerates. During the first five to ten years after menopause, women will suffer up to two to four percent loss of bone density per year, which will result in the loss of up to 25 to 30% of their bone density during this period. Accelerated bone loss after menopause is a major cause of the decrease in bone density in women.
If an old person above sixty years of age falls, due to this weakness of bones, fractures become common. Fracture of bones in old age is difficult to be cured. That is why we normally hear people to say that their old grandmother or grandfather was very healthy until recently, and one day he or she fell in the toilet and from that day he/she was bedridden and it is very difficutlt to look after them. Agressive and long term treatment is necessary for curing “Osteoporosis”. Women after menopause are affected by this weakening of bones.
Hip fractures are common complication of osteoporosis which will lead to orthopedic complications and required surgery associated with this condition. The patients will be more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and other immobility issues such as a loss of muscle tone and strength.
Kyphosis is a serious osteoporosis complication in which vertebral fractures ultimately lead to spinal deformity which can cause the hunchback known as kyphosis. With kyphosis, the internal organs will become compressed due to the deformity which will lead to breathing difficulties.
Osteoporosis must be detected early and treatments must be taken to increase the density of the bones. But, it is very difficult to completely cure Osteoporosis. The saying, “Prevention is better than cure” will be more apt in the case of Osteoporosis.
Prevention of Osteoporosis:-
- Change in Life Style,
- Quitting Smoking,
- Curtailing Alcoholic drinks,
- Regular Physical Exercise: Exercises will not help in decreasing loss of bone density or increase of bone density; exercise will help in preventing falls and subsequent fractures; daily walking is the best exercise,
- Medications for stopping Bone Loss/Medications for increasing Bone Density: must be taken by consultation and monitoring of doctor.