4 things you need to know about osteoporosis


Osteoporosis refers to a condition in which the amount of bone is decreased and the strength of the bone is weakened due to qualitative changes, and thus fracture is likely to occur. Bone is not a tissue that has stopped growing, but changes by repeating the process of creation, growth, and absorption throughout life.

Every year, 10% of bones are replaced, and after 10 years, all bones in our body are replaced with new bones. Bone density is the highest until the 20s and 30s, and gradually decreases after that.

In particular, in the case of women, bone density decreases rapidly during the first five years of menopause, so menopausal women should be more careful about osteoporosis that comes silently.

The results show that about 83% of fracture injuries in postmenopausal women are caused by osteopenia or osteoporosis, and the mortality rate of femoral fractures is very high, indicating how important it is to treat and prevent osteoporosis.

In order to prevent the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis early, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet and to regularly check bone density. Based on the data from Kyunghee Medical Center’s Endocrinology and Metabolism Center and’Mayo Clinic D.O.R.G’, here are four things you need to know about osteoporosis.

1. Causes and symptoms

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and break easily. The most important causes are hormonal changes with age, decreased calcium and vitamin metabolism, and lack of exercise.

Mainly after the 40s, the bones weaken by 0.5 to 1% every year. Recently, as the average life span has been extended to the 80s, fractures caused by osteoporosis are increasing.

Osteoporosis, commonly referred to as a’silent thief’ because of no special symptoms, is a condition that has already progressed a lot if a fracture occurs, so it requires a bone density test and treatment in advance.

2. Self-diagnosis

It is difficult to diagnose on your own before a fracture occurs, so if you have a risk factor for osteoporosis, it is better to have a bone density test.

Old age and underweight, fracture history, family history of femur fractures, alcohol consumption, smoking, steroid drug use, and rheumatoid arthritis are considered risk factors.

3. Early diagnostic tests

Bone density test, which can provide the most reliable diagnosis, and blood tests to determine risk factors for osteoporosis and to evaluate bone metabolism disorders are conducted. One out of three 65-year-old women in Korea has osteoporosis and the other one has osteopenia.

Two out of three women in their 70s are diagnosed with osteoporosis. In recent years, women in their 40s to 50s also have a lot of osteopenia, so it is better to undergo an examination.

4. Treatment and prevention

Sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D, smoking cessation, and adequate exercise are essential prerequisites for osteoporosis prevention. Drinking should also refrain from 3 or more drinks a day.

It is recommended to consume 800 units (IU) of vitamin D per day, and the recommended daily amount of calcium is 800 to 1000 mg. The amount of calcium consumed as a general meal is 400-500 mg, so it is good to eat foods with high calcium content.

It is necessary to supplement the insufficient part with calcium. Exercises include weight-bearing exercises such as walking and aerobics, and light strength exercises that can maintain muscle strength in old age.

Reporter Kwon Soon-il [email protected]

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