According to World Health Organization (2004), osteoporosis is a disease that affects the victim’s bones causing them to reduce in their density and be more vulnerable to fracture. It has been proved to be directly related to the mass of bones that an individual manages to attain during both his/her childhood and adolescent stages of life. Doctors have continued to emphasize the preventive approach to this disease encouraging parents to ensure that their children practice healthy habits which, as they emphasize, can literally lead them to breaking their bones during later stages of life. Such a great emphasis is put majorly because the disease has got no cure. This write up presents research findings on osteoporosis disease and its prevention starting from early childhood.
According to Lucas (2006), bones form the framework which allows the growth of any child. He notes that bones, as living tissues, have the tendency to change and that whenever this is happening, certain bones are replaced by the newly developed ones. In his illustration, he explains that during the two early stages of life, that is childhood and adolescence, there is a larger number of bones being deposited with the growth of the skeleton than those which are being formed. He notes that the child’s bone mass normally increases till the child reaches his/her 20s. At this point, the individual’s bones attain their peak bone mass which is basically a point at which the bone has reached its highest strength and density. According to Slon (2010), children normally attain up to 90% of the peak bone mass during age 18 and 20 for girls and boys respectively.
Symptoms of the Disease
Bartl & Frisch (2009) observe that the disease can cause the victim’s bones to break easily; this is because the amount of such individual’s born tissue is normally too low. He notes that cases where the bone loss has occurred to a higher extent, the victims may find it hard to even sneeze. Equally, such people normally find it hard to bend because this may cause the breakage of their spine bones. At the same time, the disease can cause easy breakage of such bones as the spine, ribs, and the wrist. Bartl & Frisch (2009) noted that irrespective of the bone which is affected, the fractures caused by this disease are usually accompanied by much pain. In certain situations, such fractures may lead to the individual being completely disfigured. Lucas (2006), on the other hand, notes that even though the disease is more common among the aged, there is also a possibility of its occurrence during both the young and the middle adulthood.
Causes of the Disease
Two kinds of osteoporosis, primary and secondary, have been identified. Slot (2010) notes that the primary type results from such factors as one’s hereditary or racial background. It can also be common in female individuals going through their menopause stages which normally result from the lack of estrogen. Still another primary cause is aging. On the other hand, he notes that the secondary osteoporosis is caused by those factors that are external, such as dieting and as a result of a side effect from some drugs. The dietary cause is majorly related to the lack of calcium or vitamin D while such medicines whose side effects may cause the disease are the corticosteroids and hypothyroid.
Early Prevention of the Disease
Because the disease has got no cure, doctors have continued to advocate for the preventive approaches. The identified preventive measures include the behaviors which can enable individuals to develop life-long healthy bones during their youth stage. The preventive measures basically involve living in appropriate lifestyles. The basic methods of preventing the disease are as follows:
Maintaining Appropriate Diet: Bartl and Frisch (2009) note that it is usually recommended for every individual to ensure that their diet, right from the early stages of life, is rich in both calcium and vitamin D. Doctors have continued to emphasize the need for individuals to avoid waiting until menopause to start observing the adequacy of the amount of calcium and that of vitamin D that they incorporate in their diet. They note that calcium and vitamin D are basic for the development of strong bone tissue, which begins during one’s childhood. In this process, vitamin D is basically required to help during the absorption of calcium.
Exercise: Many doctors have also underlined the need for an individual to take continuous physical exercises, especially those that are weight bearing. The exercises may take the form of walking, running, ballgames, soccer, and dancing among others. Such exercises have an effect of strengthening such bones as those in the legs and the spine while also promoting the growth of the bone tissue. Slon (2010) notes that apart from the reduced chances of experiencing fracture, stronger bones can also help in the prevention of obesity, which could result in additional gravitational stress to the spine.
Substance Avoidance: Slon (2010) notes that certain substances, such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and sodium, have an effect of reducing the bone mass. The substances also deprive the body of its nutrients which, in turns, has a negative impact on the ability of the bone tissue to regenerate.
Maintenance of the Hormonal Balance: According to Slon (2010), it is advisable that women who are growing older take measures aimed at restoring the levels of their estrogen. He argues the maintaining a high level of estrogen has the potential of preventing bone loss.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Slon (2010) also notes that those who are obese find it difficult to engage themselves in healthy exercises. This means that those who are overweight cannot benefit from the contribution attributed to healthy physical exercises. Another negative effect of the excessive weight is its pulling down effect on the spine, which causes many other complications. Bartl and Frisch (2009), on the other hand, note that those who involve themselves in excessive dieting are exposed to malnutrition. According to them, this leads to the inability of the body to maintain the health of the bone tissue due to the depletion of the nutrients required in the process of their development.
Studies have shown that a good number of children and adolescents remain to be at risk for poor bone health. Murthy and Smith (2010) identify various groups which are at risk of contracting osteoporosis. First are the infants who are born prematurely and those with very low weight at birth. These groups of infants will normally have their bone mass being less than the minimum expected, especially during their first few months of living. Another group which is at risk is that of the children who are on such medicines as steroids, such as those suffering from diseases like asthma. The other group is that of those children with cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel as well as those with celiac disease who normally experience difficulty in the absorption of nutrients.
Murthy and Smith (2010) identify another group of individuals who are at risk of contracting the disease. These are the girls who have complications in their menstrual cycles. Some forms of complications that may arise include minimal, irregular, or late cycles. These complications may be caused by high levels of emotional stress, reduced body weight, and energy-demanding trainings like that of athletics. Finally, the last group is those children with conditions that disallow them to engage in any physical activities.
In summary, the paper has made it clear that osteoporosis is a disease that affects victims’ bones. It has also been clear that the disease should not only be taken as a disease for the old. Considering that this disease has got no cure, it is necessary for all members of the society, especially parents, to put more emphasis on the need for dietary and behavioral preventive considerations. Measures should also be taken to ensure maximum development of the bones during the early stages of life in order to reduce the possibility of the occurrence of the disease in future. This disease has both the primary causes, such as those related to genetics, and the secondary causes, which include such environmental factors as nutrition. It is also clear that certain groups of children like, for instance, premature infants or those under such medication as steroids are at much higher risk of getting this disease than other groups.
In conclusion, even though an individually can never be 100 percent protected from developing the disease by taking the preventive measures, it is clear that such measures can greatly reduce the probability of the occurrence of osteoporosis. However, it should be understood that there are other measures that can be taken to help alert a person whenever the disease is just beginning. Such measures include attending regular tests for one’s bone density. Additionally, an individual can also undergo regular checkups and scans. These measures can work to enable the individual to plan for his/her treatment early enough. However, more studies needs to be done to find out more ways in which peak bone mass can be maximized. Such study should consider the cases for both girls and boys.