In France, nearly 400,000 people are hospitalized for osteoporosis-related fractures each year. And 3 million women over 50 are affected by this pathology. This bone disease combines both a decrease in bone density and changes in its micro-architecture: the more years pass, and more bones are weakened. Nearly two-thirds of patients are over 70 years old, but the youngest cases are usually found in women after menopause. On October 20, the International Day Against Osteoporosis took place.
Osteoporosis is generally diagnosed by the appearance of fractures that occur as a result of low trauma, at most equivalent to a fall from one's own height when walking. Before these fractures, which are painful and can be very disabling, the disease is undetectable. Fortunately, there are simple things to know to avoid becoming a victim.
There are many factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis, including old age, sex, and family history. Added to this are external factors such as taking long-term medications such as corticosteroids, which have been known for a long time to increase the risk of the disease.
In September, researchers at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna published an article in which they claimed that statins, used to lower blood cholesterol, would have the side effect of increasing the risk of high-dose osteoporosis. According to the French Federation of Cardiology, 20% of French people would need this type of medicine.
The contribution of dairy products
Osteoporosis is a disease whose severity is greatly influenced by the lifestyle of the person who has it. Dr. Laurent Grande, rheumatologist and president of the French Association of Rheumatic Fight, describes it as "a pediatric disease with geriatric expression", that is to say a disease contracted during childhood that is not expressed than at an advanced age. "It is therefore important from the beginning of growth to adopt a diet and a lifestyle that will contribute to healthy bones. "
For this, we must focus on foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, which ensure good bone development: they are found in dairy products, green leafy vegetables and fish. "The main source of vitamin D comes from the skin. It is therefore necessary to expose oneself to the light of the day in order to maximize the absoption. Limiting the intake of coffee, alcohol and acidic foods also helps preserve bones.
Physical activity is also recommended, especially sports "in charge", that is to say that involve physical shocks with the environment: jogging, brisk walking, ball games, boxing … "Physical activity of this type allows the development of a solid bone mass and will limit the risk of fracture in the long term, "confirms Dr. Grange.
Bone density tests
Osteoporosis is a silent disease that occurs only at the first fracture, while it is too late to slow down the general skeletal breakdown. In addition, according to Dr. Grange, "there are fewer and fewer people who are taking treatment for the disease, but more and more hospitalizations related to it. "
It is therefore very important to have a bone density test, if there are doubts about presenting risk factors for the disease, or if there was a sudden fracture: "The fracture cascade is the main risk of osteoporosis, "says the doctor. "One fracture will lead to another, and so on, until a break in the neck of the femur, which can lead to disability or death. Getting tested young can take care of the disease quickly. "Treatments exist against osteoporosis, this disease is not inevitable," he concludes.