Most of us have a family member or someone we may know who has osteoporosis. Not surprising since this condition affects over 50 million Americans in their lifetime. Because May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month, today Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing information regarding this disease and how it can affect your feet.
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that occurs due to the loss of bone mass. One way to view bone mass is to think back to when we were young. The bones of young teens and children grow bone more quickly than their bodies can resorb bone. As we become young adults, the process levels off as we reach peak bone mass.
As we age, the process reverses, and the body cannot keep up with bone production. At this stage, we lose bone mass faster than our body can create bone. And if this condition persists, the disorder is classified as osteoporosis, which weakens the bones.
This disease is often referred to as the “Silent Killer” because it either progresses without any obvious symptoms or isn’t identified until the patient experiences pain from a fracture. In fact, bone loss in the foot elevates your overall risk for stress fractures.
The effects of osteoporosis of the foot may also create balance issues resulting in falls and injuries, and not just in the ankle and foot. Often the ankle or foot can become painful and swollen even when an injury has not occurred.
Many things play a role in the probability of developing osteoporosis. Some are things you can’t control, and some you can manage.
You can’t control:
- Age: The risk increases in women over 50 and in men over 70
- Gender: Women are more disposed to osteoporosis
- Genetics: This disease is common in families and future generations are at risk if family members have a history of osteoporosis
- Body type: A decrease in bone mass in petite women puts them at risk for osteoporosis and stress fractures.
You can control:
- Nutrition: Eating disorders and vitamin deficiencies can contribute to this condition. Maintaining good dietary practices that include a variety of nutritious food helps to keep bones strong.
- Hormones: Low estrogen levels in women and testosterone in men can reduce bone mass. Hormonal changes should be monitored.
- Lifestyle: Excessive alcohol use and smoking, neither is conducive to healthy living and longevity.
- Activity: If you don’t use it, you lose it. Daily exercise, even in moderation, helps to keep bones strong. Weight-bearing exercise is very effective in building and keeping healthier levels of bone density.
Prevention and decreasing symptoms of osteoporosis are crucial for keeping you on your feet to enjoy a long and active life.
If you are concerned that you may have osteoporosis or if you are already exhibiting symptoms, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule a visit. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.