According to the Mexican Association of Bone and Mineral Metabolism (AMMOM), an estimated 15 to 18 percent of Mexican women over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis, and an additional 40 to 50 percent have low bone mass.
And one in three Mexican women over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture as a result of the condition.
In fact, the International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that, worldwide, an osteoporotic facture occurs every three seconds.
“Osteoporosis literally means porous bones,” explained ABC Medical Center sports medicine specialist Angélica Morales Segura.
“As we age, our bones can become more porous and fragile.”
As bones lose density, she said, their risk of fracture increases.
This process usually happens silently and progressively, and many women do not realize they have the condition until they suffer a facture.
The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis occur at the hip, spine and wrist.
Of particular concern are vertebral and hip fractures, which can incapacitate patients and usually require expensive and painful surgery.
Vertebral fractures can also result in serious consequences, including loss of height, intense back pain and deformity.
Although men can also suffer from osteoporosis, Morales Segura said, the condition is more common in women because women start off with lower bone density than their male counterparts and lose bone mass more quickly as they age.
Between the ages of 20 and 80, the average Caucasian woman loses one-third of her hip bone density, compared to a bone density loss of only one-fourth in men.
So what can you do to protect yourself from this debilitating disease?
Morales Segura said that lifestyle changes can go a long way to help prevent porous bones.
“Regular exercise and a healthy diet are important for all matters of health, including osteoporosis,” she said.
“A diet rich in lactates, which contain calcium, and about 180 minutes of exercise a week can help keep your bones and muscles strong.”
Calcium consumption and Vitamin D (which comes from exposure to the sun) are also key to good bone health.
But Morales Segura said that it is not a good idea for all women to take daily calcium supplements without medical supervision because an overdose of calcium can lead to kidney stones and other potential complications.
“If you need calcium supplements, your doctor will prescribe them for you, and they will usually be combined with Vitamin D,” she said.
Morales Segura also said that every woman over the age of 40 should have an annual dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) exam to check not only for bone loss but also for sarcopenia, or muscle loss.
“Osteoporosis and sarcopenia often go hand-in-hand, and a DXA can detect both of these conditions so that you and your physician can develop an exercise program that is appropriate to your specific needs,” she said.
The DXA, which is similar to an x-ray but more extensive and can also visualize muscle density, is the gold standard for both the detection of osteoporosis and sarcopenia, Morales Segura said.
“Unfortunately, this test is not usually included in a standard annual medical checkup, so you need to ask for it specifically.”
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor can help you to develop a suitable exercise program to help strengthen your bones. (Don’t depend on your personal trainer at the gym, who may know how help tighten your abs, but is not a trained medical specialist.)
People with osteoporosis usually need an aerobic exercise routine that will help to preserve or restore the range of motion and flexibility around affected joints, as well as increase muscle strength and endurance, Morales Segura said.
Patients with sarcopenia, on the other hand, will require a regime that incorporates resistance training such as Pilates or weight-lifting.
“The important thing is for women over 40 to check their bone and muscle health and, if there is a problem, to take action to halt or slow the progression of osteoporosis and/or sarcopenia,” Morales Segura said.
“Don’t wait until you have a fracture to find out that you have porous bones.”
The ABC Medical Center has two campuses. The Observatorio campus is located at Sur 136 No. 116 in Las Américas (tel: 5230-8000), and the Santa Fe campus is located at Carlos Graef Fernández 154 in Tlaxcala Santa Fe in Cuajimalpa (tel: 1103-1600).
It is a member of the Methodist International Hospital Network, which is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
For more information, contact the ABC’s webpage at www.abchospital.com.
Signs of osteoporosis
Because osteoporosis is a silent disease that can have few telltale symptoms until a fracture occurs, the best way to know if you have the disease or are prone to the disease is an annual dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) exam.
There are, however, some risk factors and red-flag indicators that may suggest you should see your doctor immediately.
Those factors include:
—High levels of serum calcium or alkaline phosphatase on a blood test
—Vitamin D deficiency
—Difficulty getting up from a chair without using your arms to push
—Joint or muscle aches
—A resting pulse greater than 80 beats per minute
—Increasing stooping (curvature of the spine)
—Bone mineral density (BMD) results of -2.5 or less
These symptoms can also indicate other health problems, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about them to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Serious Sun Protection
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide, and, according to statistics from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), the incidence of the disease in Mexico has risen from just 2 percent to a whopping 13 percent in just the last decade. Bottom line: Everyone over the age of six months should be using sunscreen daily. But the main reason most people do not use sunscreen is because they don’t like the feel of it. Now, Neutrogena has come up with a solution. Neutrogena’s new Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen provides serious broad-spectrum sun protection (either SPF 30 or 70), yet is so light that it feels like you have nothing on at all. It also features Helioplex, a breadth of stabilized sunscreen technologies that delivers superior protection from the sun. The product is fast-absorbing, water-resistant and non-oily.
With over two-thirds of the nation’s population overweight and a full 30 percent obese, Mexican designers are now cashing in on full-figure fashion with high-end garments created to showcase and flatter plus-size beauties. The nationwide department store chain Liverpool has just created a new section of larger-sized fashion called Curvy Girl which embraces a range of apparel tailored to curvaceous figures.
The collection, which was presented recently in a plus-size catwalk and trunk show at the Doméstico Condesa restaurant and is now in stores, includes intimate wear by Soma (with more than 30 bra sizes up to 42DD), trendy techno-fitted derriere-lifting jeans from BackUp, and ultra-chic casual and dressy garments from Soy.
It also includes a selection of ipurses from Westies that come with special built-in chargers for iPhones, and you don’t have to be plump to want one of these fashionable handbags.