Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis; Inevitabilities or Preventable Outcomes?

By: Gavin Ajami

      Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease characterized by the deterioration and inflammation of the joints due to age, obesity, maligned bones, and overuse. As a result of this disease, painful symptoms ensue as the cartilaginous caps of long bones begin to wear down at the joints. Small cartilaginous pieces begin to break off into the synovial fluid of the joint capsule. This causes stimulation of the synovial membrane and uncomfortable swelling. Eventually painful bony spurs can form that grind on neighboring bone. Staying fit to avoid the buildup of unnecessary weight and icing joints can reduce joint strain and the risk of OA.  Daily exercise and integrating movement or stretching into your daily routine can help to minimize these Issues as well. By simply walking you are squeezing your synovial fluid through your joints to remove cartilaginous waste products via the synovial membrane; thus keeping your joints healthy and fresh.

      Osteoporosis, or “porous bone,” is a disease in which the bone becomes more fragile and susceptible to fractures, especially in the hips and spine. Bone is made of the mineral calcium and the fibrous protein collagen, which respectively provide strength and flexibility. However, your bone is constantly changing and remodeling itself. We obtain our peak bone mass at the age of 25, and women are four times as likely to be affected by this disease. The aging process causes us to break down bone faster than it can be made and osteoporosis causes the spongy bone, at the ends of your diaphysis, to acquire more holes at larger sizes, thus quietly undermining their structure over time.  This is why it is so important to properly supplement your diet with calcium and vitamin D. We actually need vitamin D to absorb the calcium from our GI tract into our bones. Decreases in bone density with age, weight loss, or hormonal deficiencies, such as low testosterone levels or low estrogen levels after menopause, contribute greatly to your susceptibility to these diseases. Lifestyle choices such as weight bearing exercise and sustaining from smoking can also serve to increase bone density or prevent osteoporosis. Essentially, if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.

Read more: http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/bone-joint-health

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