Osteoporosis is a disease that was already known in 3000 B.C. but it was only since the end of the First World War that more interest was shown in studies and research, as stated by Doctor Simona Bellometti, Scientific Director of the “Pietro d’Abano” Thermal Study Centre.
The main direct causes are the more abundant and less healthy diet, sedentariness, smoking and stress, while the indirect ones are the increase in average life or the disabling causes of old age. In 1993 the WHO classified osteoporosis as a “social disease”, inviting all governments to draw up preventive and therapeutic plans to combat it. Osteoporosis is defined as a systemic pathology of the skeleton characterized by loss of bone mass and alterations in the micro architecture of bone tissue.
Primary type 1 corresponds to post-menopausal osteoporosis and associated with estrogen deficiency; it affects between 5 and 20% of women in the first two decades after menopause and vertebral fractures are the main traumatic event.
Primary type 2 osteoporosis is senile osteoporosis and affects men and women over 70 years of age; it mainly affects long bones (hip, ribs, femur and wrist).
Secondary osteoporosis is associated with conditions such as:
- hormonal imbalances;
- gastrointestinal disorders (mainly inflammatory diseases);
- drug use (corticosteroids, anticonvulsants);
- Chronic kidney diseases;
- inflammatory joint diseases (rheumatoid arthritis);
- prolonged immobilization and inactivity;
- inadequate nutrition (quantitative and qualitative).
The main strategies in the treatment of osteoporosis include:
- for the patient: administration of calcium, exercise;
- drugs that stimulate the formation of bone tissue (fluoride salts, anabolics);
- drugs that inhibit bone resorption (estrogen, calcitonin, bisphosphonates).
A prevention strategy, the only truly effective one, is the early identification of individuals at risk, especially in the post-menopausal phase, when even the reference of a normal bone mass should not lead to false optimism and does not exempt from the application of a set of general hygiene rules. The prevention of osteoporosis should start as early as possible, already during the period of skeletal growth.
What and how can a Spa thermal wellness holidays be helpful?
There are scientific papers such as those published in the journal Current Terapeutic Research and which have been accepted in important scientific conferences such as the 1st Congress on Calcium and vitamin D in human life, which have revolutionized the theory that a series of therapeutic spa measures (e.g. mud therapy) can excite bone catabolism, significantly reducing the damage or complications of the skeletal system.
The Spa thermal wellness holidays can become a useful moment to develop strategies of education and awareness raising, as well as to identify subjects at risk of osteoporosis through studies such as Moc. Spa Thermal wellness holidays represent the place and time where people are psychologically inclined to devote the attention they do not have in their daily life, to receive training and educational advice, which in the case of osteoporosis are indispensable.
The doctor recommended:
- Moderate but constant physical activity, indispensable for the mineralization of bone tissue;
- to inquire about the positive and negative aspects of hormone replacement therapy;
- intake of calcium even in youth/children to build up the necessary reserves, preferably from food sources, using supplements only when the diet is insufficient;
- drink mineral waters rich in calcium at least in the bicarbonate form (much more accepted because the calories contained are derisory;
- healthy and rich social life, loneliness and depression cause a deterioration of the osseoarticular system in general;
- hydrokinesiotherapy in thermal spas. Thanks to the temperature of the thermal water and the high quantity of minerals it possesses, it will have a beneficial effect on the joints and muscles that aims to reduce pain, stiffness and muscular hypotrophy.
For an adult the adequate daily amount of calcium is 800 mg, for a woman in menopause it should be at least 1000-1500 mg. And as always, the best cure is prevention, learn to recognize the symptoms and, in any case, always take care of your body!
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