The term “osteoporosis” was said to first be coined in the 1830’s by Jean Gorges Chretien Frederic Martin Lobstein – or Jean Lobstein, for short – meaning “porous bones”. While Lobstein is responsible for the term, he is generally also attributed for the “recognition of its pathological appearance”. Further clarification of the condition wasn’t available until the 1930’s by endocrinologist Fuller Albright when he and a group of researchers linked the condition to hormones and calcium metabolism – that explains why a higher number of women have it compared to men. Osteoporosis is an acquired condition but there has been some research that implies that there are some genes that can be associated with it making is possibly hereditary.There are many risk factors that can increase our chances of developing osteoporosis including things we cannot change, our bodily hormones, diet, medication and even other medical conditions. Unfortunately, this disease is more likely to develop in women than in men – unfortunate as I am a woman, myself – with even higher chances of developing it around the time we are post-menopausal. It is also said that people with smaller frame sizes have a higher risk as “they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age”. “The reduction of estrogen levels in women at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors in developing osteoporosis.” Hormones (outside of menopause) can also be a factor in developing this condition as we could have too much of one hormone and not enough of another. For example, having too much of the thyroid hormone can increase bone loss if it’s overactive. Diet also can be a factor of developing this condition specifically with calcium intake. The mineral calcium helps our bones stay strong. The way our bodies removes and renews bone mass is the same as what it does to calcium. Eating calcium rich foods starting at an early age allows the body to in a way save enough of it so when we no longer can produce it as we once did, our bodies can take it from the “savings”- almost like a bank account.
Pre-existing medical conditions and certain lifestyle choices can also increase the chances of developing osteoporosis such as IBD, cancer, lupus, arthritis, etc. A “sedentary lifestyle” increases the risk of osteoporosis meaning, people who spend a huge portion of their day sitting and having limited, if not no activity are at greater risk of developing it compared to those who are. Those who are overweight also have increase chance of developing osteoporosis because there’s an additional amount of weight being added to our bones which causes them to breakdown even quicker.
Prevention and treatment for this condition do exist. As implied above, calcium intake, and general diet and exercise can be beneficial and possible reduce/prevent the changes of developing osteoporosis. Avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, carbs and fats can really make a difference as well as spending at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity and strength training up to five days a week. From a medical standpoint, medications such as alendronic acid can prevent and even treat this conditional. Those looking for a more self-care approach can opt to taking vitamins to promote regular body function and development such as calcitriol, vitamin D, and cholecalciferol. While unfortunate, living with osteoporosis is possible. It’s all about making better decisions and pushing yourself to do better in your day to day life that can really help and have a huge impact.