Osteoporosis affects approximately 1 in 4 women over the age of 75, or around 924,000 Australians.
It is defined as the deterioration of bone tissue and strength. This skeletal condition can progressively worsen over time, leading to porous and weak bones. This leads to an increased risk of fracture.
How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?
To diagnose Osteoporosis, a bone mineral density test is ordered using a DEXA scan. These scan results will provide a t-score and a z-score.
The T score measures the amount of bone you have in comparison to a normal population of younger people and is used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture and need for medication. The Z score measures the amount of bone you have in comparison to those in your age group. This number can help indicate whether there is a need for further medical tests.
Some typical risk factors for developing Osteoporosis include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lowered oestrogen or testosterone levels
- Previous history of fractures
- Insufficient calcium intake
- Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Current or past smoker
How can exercise help limit or stop the progression of Osteoporosis?
Certain exercises are ‘osteogenic‘ in nature. This simply means that they help to promote a healthy bone density level. By completing osteogenic exercises regularly, our body responds positively by improving bone mineral density and strength, this helps to reduce the risk of fracture. Osteogenic exercises create a bone remodelling phase, which allows our body to deposit more minerals into our bones, and take away the older cells.
Osteogenic exercises include resistance or weights training. These can include movements such as a squat, deadlift or seated row. These movements place specific load on the skeletal tissue around the spine, hips and femur which are all common sites of degeneration and fracture.
Other osteogenic exercises include impact activities such as hopping, jumping and running. These exercises create a high demand on the skeletal tissue, with an osteogenic or ‘bone growth’ response.
If you are somebody with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia, it is important to start these resistance and impact exercises slowly, and build over time. It is important to remember that if you are at risk of a fracture, exercise in a safe environment where the risk of falling is low.
Before you start a new exercise routine, be sure to get in touch with your local Accredited Physiologist to ensure you have a program that is suitable to your health concerns. Your Exercise Physiologist will take into consideration your current strength, current medications and the best osteogenic exercises to start with!
Need help getting started? Be sure to get in touch today!