"Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, just like green leafy vegetables [espinafres, brócolos, grelos, couves e nabiças, entre outros], cereals and nuts, "says the rheumatologist, who advises the ingestion of almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.The former are more easily absorbed by our body than the rest, but all are important in a healthy and balanced diet.
Alcohol and tobacco on the list of enemies of the disease
The sedentary life is inimical to his bones, as are tobacco and alcohol in excess. In addition to having a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fats and sugars, remember that practicing physical activity is essential to keep your bones healthy. "Physical exercise increases bone density because the force of gravity stimulates bone formation," says the president of APOROS.
"This was proven after the men went to the moon, when it was found that astronauts who stayed in space for long periods lost bone mass," he explains. The best ways to prevent osteoporosis are thus all those where we have to sustain the weight of our body. "So running, walking and dancing is better than riding a bicycle and this is better than swimming," he says.
Sunbathing makes the difference
The sun causes the body to produce more vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium. So sunbathing daily is essential, even in winter. "30 minutes a day of sun exposure on the face, neck and neckline and hands is enough, but one should avoid the hours of increased radiation due to the sun's damage to the skin," explains Viviana Tavares. Do not forget the sunscreen with SPF 30 or 50.
Next, be aware of the main risk factors of this disease:
– Be woman
– Be over 65 years old
– Be of Caucasian or Asian origin
– Have a family history
– Be of small stature
– Being overweight or being too thin
– Have a diet low in calcium
– Consume too much alcohol
– Having Thyroid Diseases
– Early menopause
– Take some type of drugs frequently, such as cortisone
– Being immobilized
The most effective treatments
Osteoporosis can be treated, and the earlier the diagnosis, the better it will feel. These are the therapeutic solutions that many experts recommend:
– Calcium Supplements
They are prescribed when the food does not contain enough calcium.
– Vitamin D Supplements
This vitamin is very important because it increases the absorption of calcium.
In cases of vertebral fractures associated with osteoporosis, vertebroplasty may be used, which consists of injecting bone cement directly into the fractured vertebra, relieving pain and aiding recovery.
– Medicines to increase bone mass
Bisphosphonates are one of the examples of drugs that inhibit bone resorption, thus increasing bone mass, reducing the risk of fractures.
They are prescribed to reduce the pain caused by osteoporosis.
Text: Rita Caetano with Viviana Tavares (rheumatologist and president of the National Association Against Osteoporosis, APOROS)