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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a worldwide condition which affects approx. 9 million people. There are many factors contributing to the development of osteoporosis including exercise, diet, smoking and medications. The condition diminishes your bone density and therefore your bones become weak and brittle. The good news is that this can be well managed through alterations to your diet and incorporating safe individualised exercise programs. Our team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists at Functional Health are equipped to tailor an exercise program to your specific needs.

Our resistance training programs utilise specialised medical exercise equipment to safely rebuild your bone health.

An analogy that best describes osteoporotic bone is the bones become more honeycomb like internally instead of being a strong matrix to support your body. This decrease in density severely reduces the strength of the bones and makes them prone to fractures. This is not an overnight process and osteoporosis develops over many years. The process initially begins throughout the middle stages of life. Our bone density increases from childhood through adolescence and hits a peak at approximately 30 years of age. Unfortunately after this age this is where things can begin to go downhill. After 30 years our bone mineral density starts to decline and it is this process that we wish to slow down and try hold on to our bone density. The process of decline occurs naturally, yet once it reaches a certain point it places people at an increased risk of an accident or fracture from falls or direct blows.

Bone density is something unfortunately that is difficult to increase a whole lot after 30. It is more about maintaining what we developed throughout our younger years. Osteopenia is a precursor condition to osteoporosis where the bone mineral density has started to decrease below normal levels for your age, however they are not so low to be considered osteoporotic yet. Nevertheless, the risk is still increased. Your bone mineral density is measured through a DEXA scan which measures the material matrix and structural integrity of the bone. This is then compared to aged match averages which determines the risk associated with the level you are at. Our team of professional will help you interpret and understand these measurements and determine the most at risk areas we will work on together through individualised exercise regimes.

Osteoporosis can affect many areas of the body, including the hips, pelvis, vertebrae and knees among many others. As you can see this is mainly in the weight bearing joints. This increases the risk of fractures especially as the ageing process occurs and when falls are more prevalent. These fractures can be very dangerous as when we get older we don’t quite bounce back like we used to when we were younger.

Importance of developing bone density

Throughout childhood bone density development is dependent on factors such as physical activity, sunlight exposure and correct dietary supplementation, specifically calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body through exposure to sunlight and calcium is absorbed through dietary intake of dairy products. Exercise is the vital factor in preventing osteoporosis as it places loading within the bones themselves. Bones have receptors in them that measure the amount of load and stress. If the stress within the bones is high, this sends a signal to the cells to increase the bone density in order to withstand this load. These cells are called osteoclasts which help lay down the bone matrix to increase its strength.

As we age and if we aren’t exposed to enough sunlight and dietary calcium as well as not stressing our bones sufficiently the receptors send a signal to break down the bone via osteoblasts and use the calcium for other systems within the body. The calcium from the bone cells is reabsorbed and results in severely increasing the susceptibility of developing osteoporosis. Women after menopause are at a much greater risk of developing osteoporosis. This is due to the fact that post-menopausal women produce far less estrogen which plays a major role in regulation of calcium deposits and bone density. Without the control from estrogen a steep decline in bone mineral density is seen in females, which has ramifications for the development of osteoporosis.

We have helped countless women and men as well, manage osteoporosis to live a safe and care free life with only a few lifestyle modifications and some exercise.

How we help prevent Osteoporosis

This is where we at Functional Health come in to help you. Our team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists develop individualised resistance training programs, as studies indicate resistance exercise is a vital component of the preservation of bone density. The resistance loading provides the required stimulus to signal an increase in calcium for bone cell production, while also slowing the bone reabsorption process.

Our MedX machines are specially designed medical exercise machines that allow you to conduct safe resistance training to help manage or prevent conditions related to decreased bone density. Our exercise programs are all supervised sessions to ensure your well-being and guarantee you are gaining the most benefits from our MedX machines. Our machines provide the loading stimulus required with a reduced injury risk compared to other loading mechanisms such as in a gym environment or running.

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