Doctors warn mothers and the elderly to be careful of thin bones and osteoporosis

Doctors take the occasion of Mother’s Day to warn of osteoporosis among mothers and the elderly, pointing out that most of them can’t escape the demise, while offering ways to prevent the disease.

On August 11th, Dr. Suramesr Sirijaruwongsa, a Rehabilitation Medicine Specialist at Samitivej Hospital, said on the occasion of Mother’s Day about the common disease among mothers and the elderly which is thin bones and osteoporosis. He said most osteoporosis patients were females from 30-35 years old. Women are more susceptible than men as men have 10-20% more bone mass than women. In particular, between the ages of 40-50 years old or the post-menopausal period, women’s bone mass will drop quickly due to drastic hormonal changes. Many women are shorter as they age because their bones shrink. Vertebral discs are commonly the first structure to shrink, reducing the vertebral gaps. Bone mass will begin to change at the age of 30, which is when bone mass is at its maximum capacity. Thereafter, bones will begin to lose its mass.

While it is impossible to recover the bones of a young man or woman, there are many ways to care to prevent osteoporosis and delay the onset of its symptoms. Research has proven that exercises with bone impact such as walking and running at a young age can contribute to such persons having a higher bone mass accumulation than those who did not. Even at the age of 40, running can be beneficial as it will signal the body that a higher bone mass is still needed.

Dr. Suramesr added that joint pain has been a target of discussion when discussing exercises like running in the elderly. However, many people were found to have developed joint diseases without any history of exercise. This raises the curiosity that perhaps joint degeneration is not being addressed at the right cause, which tends to be the cartilage. International research has found that the trauma to the surface of cartilage can cause pain in patients. However, a research study which inserted a stimulating steel rod into the joint to test where pain is most elicited showed that more pain was induced when touching surrounding tissues and inner bone tissues through porous cartilage than when touching the surface of cartilage. As such, more emphasis has been put on treating bones as they absorb and disperse force of impact.

The World Health Organization is monitoring this topic closely as people with osteoporosis who are in their elder years begin to lose muscular control. Poor balance and frequent dizziness caused by deteriorating eye sight, muscle sensory receptors, and muscle strength makes them susceptible to falls, which can be devastating.

Bone care is divided into two stages. In the early stage, before maximum bone mass capacity is reached, exercise is promoted to deposit the conceptual ‘bone bank’ to strengthen bones. Sufficient levels of exercise between the age of 30-35 can enhance bone strength. A healthy diet alone cannot achieve the same result as there is no stimulation. Accumulating bone density via exercise is quintessential to reducing the risk of bone injuries.

The Rehabilitation Medicine Specialist at Samitivej Hospital added that, after the age of 30, exercise plays an important role in reducing bone mass loss. Exercises like running can stimulate bones to uphold its strength against impact as the body is very smart and adaptable. Another way of promoting bone health is to take medication and nutritional supplements. As bones comprise of the outer bone layer and the inner bone structure, both require stimulation. Some medications can only stimulate the outer bone layer and not the inner layer of the bone structure.

Before menopause, women should continue exercising at a high intensity and taking some nutritional supplements. Post-menopause is too late. Bones will deteriorate quickly and some people will become negligent as they are asymptomatic. Without a bone scan, they will be oblivious to the problem. Bone density scans bear no danger like other scanning machines such as the X-ray machine. Post-menopausal women are recommended to undergo at least 1 scan early on, and again every 5 years. These scans are simple and offers insight on the risk group that the person belongs in. If a person has thin bones, nutritional supplements is required to increase calcium which can be either synthetic or organic calcium from natural sources.

Some patients with stiff blood vessels due to plaque buildup, ingested calcium will not be able to reach bones to be absorbed. Instead, calcium may adhere to the accumulated plaque on the inner walls of blood vessels inside muscles or on the outer layers of the bone. Consequentially, the blood vessels become more rigid and causes hypertension. Most people with this problem due to taking synthetic calcium which has poor absorption. However, organic calcium from natural sources such as peanuts, sesame, vegetables which are already prevalent in our diets, or some calcium products extracted from natural sources such as extracted black sesame seeds, fish scales (Protetite) or small shrimps will pose less danger to the body while allowing the body to absorb them to truly strengthen bones. However, most people are still not knowledgeable about this.