Women are more at risk of osteoporosis and the watershed is represented by menopause. What to do and the indicated diet
Do not think that osteoporosis is to be declined only in women. Men are also at risk from old age, especially if they are subjected to prolonged cortisone treatments, if they raise their elbows too often or if they are smokers (moreover, these are also risk factors for women). But there is no doubt that the fairer sex must pay more attention to the risk of "brittle" bones. And then, on the occasion of the World Day on Illness scheduled for October 20, it is better to understand what happens and how to reduce the risk of fractures after minimal or even spontaneous trauma.
The watershed of menopause
With the term of fertile life, progressively, there is a modification of the normal mechanism of bone tissue replacement, linked to the drop in estrogen hormones. To understand what happens, think of a building in continuous construction and storage: on the one hand there are those who add bricks to build up the structures, on the other hand those who "dismantle" to eliminate what is old. In bone, these functions are basically performed by two types of cells: osteoblasts can be considered as bone "builders".
To compensate for their activity there are osteoclasts, or operating units that have the task of "removing" the older parts, so that they can be replaced. This system works perfectly as long as the production of estrogen hormones is sufficient, because they work as biochemical "controllers". With menopause, a period in which hormonal deficiency occurs, the action of the osteoclasts becomes more and more incisive and the osteoblasts are no longer able to replace the lost bone tissue. Result: the bone becomes progressively weaker (osteoporosis) and therefore it "breaks" more easily.
This phenomenon, which mainly affects the long bones (for example the femur) and the vertebrae, leads over time to an impoverishment of the bone stock. The bones therefore become extremely fragile, porous, pitted even if on the outside they may appear completely normal, because calcium is lacking. For this reason, they can suffer fractures even after minor trauma. Suffice it to say that nine out of ten femur fractures (this type of injury is concentrated in the female population) occurs after falls perfectly tolerated by younger women.
Healthy nutrition and physical activity for prevention
Prevention, of course, is crucial. And it depends on us. At the table it is advisable to reduce the intake of foods rich in animal proteins, salt and coffee (better not to exceed two to three cups a day). Among the recommended foods there are milk (better skimmed, at least partially) and its derivatives such as yogurt, dried fruit, soy and legumes in general, green leafy vegetables.
But be careful: It is not only the calcium present in food that counts, but also how much the body can absorb. The chemical form of calcium in food and the simplicity of solubilization in the intestine are significant variables in determining the efficiency of absorption. In fact, in dairy products the mineral is highly available and this obviously helps. In addition, it must never be forgotten that in addition to the calcium that is introduced, the assimilation of the mineral also counts.
If you do regular physical activity and expose yourself to the sun, calcium is absorbed more. Precisely on the "walking" front, however, special attention should be paid to those who move extremely slowly, since even the speed of the step becomes a parameter to define the risk of falls and fractures. Don't believe it? Do you think that it is proved that those who walk normally do not reach 70 centimeters per second have a greater risk of falls, and therefore of suffering fractures.
It is also important to assess the balance in people at risk. In terms of early diagnosis, finally, a piece of advice: regularly undergo Computerized Bone Mineralometry or MOC, based on your situation and the doctor's advice. The examination, which is completely painless, measures the mineral density of the bone and is essential for identifying people at risk of osteopenia, i.e. tissue deficiency, and osteoporosis. The principle of the method is based on the use of a beam of gamma or X photonic rays which, crossing a bone segment, is attenuated by it due to its density. The fewer photons pass through the bone, the denser it is and therefore less fragile and subject to demineralization.