If you have osteoporosis, you may need more calcium, usually as supplements. You can ask your physician for advice about taking calcium supplements.

Let’s learn more about it.

Osteoporosis- What Is It, And What Does It Look Like?

First, what is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones lose minerals such as calcium, becoming less dense and breaking more easily. As the condition doesn’t have indicative symptoms, most people realize they have osteoporosis only when they get a fracture. 

Osteoporosis is a condition with porous bones. A healthy bone has small pores. But osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, making them less dense. The bone becomes thinner and weaker.

Who is more likely to suffer from Osteoporosis?

While it can occur at any age, it is prevalent in older women. People with osteoporosis are at a high risk of bone breaks or fracture while doing routine work such as walking or standing. Bones that are affected the most include:

  • Hips
  • Ribs
  • Spine
  • Wrists

Osteoporosis Causes And Symptoms

Osteoporosis is a silent condition without any symptoms, especially in the early stages. Most people come to know about the condition until they get a fracture.

If symptoms are present, they include:

  • Weakened grip strength
  • Receding gums
  • Brittle and weak nails

Symptoms of severe osteoporosis include a fracture, even from a strong cough or sneeze. It may also cause neck or back pain. There may be a loss of height because of compression fracture on the neck or back.

If a fracture occurs, the duration of healing depends on various factors, including age and health condition.

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Osteoporosis Causes

Some common causes and risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Certain medicines such as cortisone
  • Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders
  • Above 40 years of age
  • Menopause
  • Being female
  • Poor nutrition
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Smoking
  • Small-boned frame
  • Physical inactivity
  • Low body weight

Calcium And Preventing Osteoporosis

The best prevention for osteoporosis is a healthy diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. However, people with kidney disorders should monitor phosphate and calcium levels.

Experts also suggest moderate sun exposure to prevent osteoporosis. You can expose your hands and face to sunlight a few times a week during the summer and spring months.

However, too much sun exposure may damage the skin, and sunscreen may be used to prevent skin burns and damage. As sunscreen alters vitamin D absorption, taking foods with vitamin D or vitamin supplements is beneficial. 

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is:

  • 0–12 months: 400 IU (10 mcg)
  • 1–70 years: 600 IU (15 mcg)
  • Above 70: 800 IU (20 mcg)

Another option involves using fortified orange juice, milk, and other products rich in vitamin D.

Calcium for Osteoporosis Use And Dosage

Treatment of osteoporosis involves taking the missing mineral or vitamin. The doctor may give you calcium and vitamin D supplements if you have low calcium levels. This will help to manage symptoms of osteoporosis. The correct dose depends on your age and condition. Taking a higher or lower dose may negatively affect your health. Thus, always take the recommended dose. 

The usual dose of calcium is 1000 mg or 2000 mg for a few weeks. 

Tips to take calcium supplements:

  • It is available as a tablet to be taken orally, once or more, with or without food or as prescribed by your physician.
  • Take this tablet daily at the same time.
  • Follow all the instructions on the prescription label. 
  • Do not stop taking this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor.
  • Do not take it more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. 
  • Do not stop using it even if you feel well.
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If You Miss the Calcium Dose for Osteoporosis

  • If you happen to miss a dose of calcium, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. 
  • However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. 
  • Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose. 

Other Precautions

Like all other medications, calcium may cause side effects, although it is unlikely to happen to everyone. However, it is important that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.

Very Common side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Upset stomach

Common side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Headache
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Increase in the amount of acid your stomach produces

Rare side effects:

  • Itchy skin rash caused by allergic reaction- pale or red irregular raised patches with severe itching (hives)
  • Bruising
  • Severe dizziness
  • Troubled breathing

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

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