Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief

Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief


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  • Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease that weakens the bone by decreasing bone density leading to increased risk of fractures. The term ‘Osteo’ refers to bone and ‘porosis’ denotes the holes or space which is caused by the insufficiency of minerals in the bones. The problem is most commonly seen in middle age and elderly women especially after menopause or having a sedentary lifestyle. According to WHO, Osteoporosis is the second leading healthcare problem in elder people next to Cardiovascular disease. Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1in 5 men over 50 years of age experience osteoporosis fracture. The disease is referred to as “The Silent Thief” as it is quietly robs the bones without any symptoms and is recognized only when a person falls or even mild twisting breaks the bone.  

    The main reason for this disease is the lack of essential minerals, Calcium in the diet, and the limited amount of Vitamin D in the body which causes its absorption from the Gastro-intestinal tract. Apart from these two major factors, lack of female sex hormone, estrogen especially in postmenopausal women triggers the issue. To add on, a sedentary lifestyle due to globalization and the current COVID situation, the prevalence of the disease is augmented. Because of the lockdown, we are forced to stay at home with a limited movement and no exercise which leads to loss of muscle mass and gradual loss of bones. There is a continuous supply of sunlight in India throughout the year still 80-90% population is suffering from Vitamin D Deficiency.

    Treatment of Osteoporosis :

    The incidence of Osteoporosis can be reduced by taking a balanced diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle with a daily routine of exercise. Calcium & Vitamin D are the two main nutrients preventing osteoporosis. Besides this Vitamin K2 and magnesium also work synergistically to promote strong and healthy bones. It is better to have calcium from a dietary source than the marketed supplements as they increase the risk of heart disease. Diary is an excellent source of calcium. Milk and milk products like skimmed milk, yogurt, and cheese must be included in childhood from an early age so as to build a strong foundation. People who are lactose intolerance can consume soya and soya products as they contain phytoestrogen which minimizes the incidence of hot flashes (a major problem after menopause). Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, white beans, chickpea, almonds are also a good source of calcium. Indian cuisines have number of millets like ragi, bajra, jowar etc are rich source of Calcium. 100 g serving of millets give approximately 360 mg of Calcium. Replacing the wheat flour with these millets or including these millets in the flour can boost daily calcium level.  Vitamin D can be easily obtained by exposure to sunlight. A daily 20 minutes of exposure to morning sunlight is best to build Vitamin D stores in the body.

    Treatment of Osteoporosis

    Magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of Calcium. Pumpkin seeds, brown rice, cashews, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ are some important sources of magnesium. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and asparagus are a good source of Vitamin K2. In addition to the above food, Phosphorus containing food like soft drinks, red meat should be avoided as they promote bone loss. Excess of tea and coffee should also be avoided as they contain high levels of caffeine. Caffeine forms a complex with calcium and interferes with its absorption. Exercise also helps in preventing osteoporosis. This helps in building stronger bones by stimulating osteoblast(bone-forming cells) and mineralization of the bones. Simple exercises like walking, running, stair climbing, swimming, and aerobics strengthen the bones, helping in preventing osteoporosis. A daily walk of 30-35 minutes can be very effective. But if a person is already suffering from osteoporosis, then exercise should be done under the supervision of a doctor particularly bending and twisting at the waist.


    To summarize, osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bone-thin, weaken, and easily broken. The long-term effect of the disease like pain, loss of independence, and institutionalized care become more prevalent as the population ages. Efforts to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis should start with proper education about a healthy lifestyle, including optimal calcium and vitamin D and exercise in adolescence. This education should continue throughout life, with emphasis during times of increased bone loss such as the menopause transition.

    2 Responses

    1. Hi Anu,thanks for supporting to stay healthy and get in shape by loosing weight through your wonderful diet plans and regular one to one discussions.
      😊 Thank you
      Rominder Kaur

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