Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone, mass and density and deterioration of bone tissue. It makes the bone weak and more fragile. This bone fracturing disease most commonly happens in the spine, wrist and hips. This leads to increased risk of fracture. Fractures are the most dangerous aspect of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is usually a silent disease, as it is asymptomatic most often.

Usually classified as,

  • Primary type 1 osteoporosis is most common in women after menopause
  • Type 2 Primary osteoporosis occurs after age 75.
  • Secondary osteoporosis is mostly due to prolonged use of medications such as glucocorticoids.

Osteoporosis

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS

Growth, constant renewal and repair of bones are natural. Broken bones will be replaced with newer one. It is quicker in the early ages. But as you get older, the rate of repair of bones slows down and loss of bones increases. Most people attain their peak bone density by age 20. Loss of bone density gradually occurs as you age. This leads to thinning and weakening of bones.

  • Women are at greater risk than males
    Osteoporosis can affect both men and women. But women are more likely to get this disease. The level of oestrogen, the female hormone may decrease after the menopause. It can cause reduction in the bone density. A considerable fall in the oestrogen level may occur during certain cancer treatments also. A drop in the level of testosterone can cause weakening of bone density in males and thereby osteoporosis.
  • Older age
  • People with thin body- Body Mass Index (BMI) 19 or below.
  • Excess thyroid hormone
  • Family history of hip fracture.
  • Disorders of adrenal glands and pituitary glands.
  • Insufficient calcium intake and deficiency of vitamin D.
  • Alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Use of certain corticosteroids.

SYMPTOMS

There will be no any signs or symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. It develops asymptomatically over several years. But once a bone fracture occurs, you may experience symptoms like:

  • Pain almost anywhere in the spine due to bone fracture.
  • Disfigurement or stooped posture
  • Loss of height over a time
  • Chronic pain as the result of spinal fracture
  • Fractures in the hip or wrist.

DIAGNOSIS

Your bone density will have to be measured to diagnose osteoporosis. Common X-ray scan can detect bone fractures, but it could not be considered as a reliable way to measure bone density. So an advanced scanning technology called DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan is used here.

After measuring Bone Mineral Density (BMD), it will be compared to the same of a healthy person of your age. If the difference between them is above 2.5, it will be diagnosed as osteoporosis.

Your doctor will also consider your age, gender and any previous injuries before deciding whether you need treatment for osteoporosis.

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

Treatment for osteoporosis may include the following:

  • Regular Exercise- like walking, jogging, playing tennis and yoga will helpful to you to preserve your bone density from losing.
  • Follow diet which can provide adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D. It is inevitable to keep your bones strong. Your doctor may recommend you a calcium supplement.
  • Avoid habit of smoking
  • Control alcohol consumption
  • Take measures to prevent falls
  • The commonly prescribed medications to treat osteoporosis are bisphosphonates. The common biophosphonates are binosto, fosamax (alendronate) and boniva(Ibandronate).

These medications can produce certain side effects like abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and esophageal ulcers.

Your osteoporosis can be cured completely if you follow your doctor’s advices strictly along with home remedies.