Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone density and fragile bones. It leads to abnormally porous bones that are compressible, similar to a sponge. Porous bone is very weak and easy to get break.
Our bones usually consist of sufficient amounts of protein, collagen and calcium, which gives them strength. In cases of osteoporosis, however, structure and strength are compromised.
Osteoporosis can affect both men and women, but most cases are postmenopausal women. Over 40 million people in the United States are estimated to have bone disease, with an estimated 1,000 fractures per hour worldwide due to osteoporosis complications.
Causes, risk factors and complications in osteoporosis
When we are Our bones are constantly in a state of renewal. This means that old bone is broken down to make room for new bone. It is a normal process that ensures bone health. Our youth allowed us to make new bones faster than it breaks down and increase bone mass.
When we reach more advanced age, this process does not occur as quickly. The rate of bone loss can exceed bone growth.
The highest bone density is typically reached in the late 1920s. A gradual weakening after the age of 35 is often observed. This natural weakening is more pronounced in some people and leads to osteoporosis.
A number of risk factors increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. They are as follows:
non-modifiable risk factors
- Age – risk of osteoporosis increases with age
- Ethnicity – Risk is higher in the white and Asian population
- Bone structure – those with small bone structures are considered high risk
- Genetics – Family history of osteoporosis, especially in a parent or sibling, increases the likelihood of developing bone disease.
- Fracture History – Osteoporosis risk is higher in patients with a previous fracture during a low-level injury. This applies in particular to injuries after the age of 50.
Changeable risk factors
- Reduced sex hormones – especially in women, since estrogen decreases during menopause with an increased risk of osteoporosis
- Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are associated (eating disorders)
- tobacco smoking
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Low levels of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D – possibly due to under-absorption, malabsorption, or taking certain medications
- Lack of activity or immobility – exercise exercises put some stress on the bones that is required for bone growth.
The development of osteoporosis can also be caused by hormonal imbalances that are due to an illness. Several hormones are required for normal bone growth and maintenance. Diseases that affect hormone levels include hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism and Cushing’s disease.
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis are also associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Including a constant risk of broken bones throughout the body can lead to several debilitating complications. The most serious are broken bones on the spine or hip. These are usually the result of falls and lead to long-term illnesses or an increased risk of death in the first year of fracture.
Symptoms of osteoporosis
In the early stages of bone disease, there are practically no symptoms, but without knowing it, your bones are weakened. In most cases, a patient can only diagnose osteoporosis after a fall or an injury that results in a fracture, especially if the injury is minor.
Minor injuries that can lead to broken bones include slipping, a simple cough, or even a sneeze. Fractures often appear in the hip, wrist or spine.
Signs and symptoms of osteoporosis are also:
- Back pain from a broken or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height
- Bone fractures are easier than expected.
Diagnosis of osteoporosis
The diagnosis of osteoporosis often occurs after a fracture. At this point the bone has already reached a level that is much thinner and lighter than normal bone. This is often appreciated once your doctor has ordered an x-ray that shows that at least 30 percent of your bone has deteriorated.
While x-rays are a useful test, they are no precise indicators of bone density. For this reason, doctors use the DXA scan (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry).
DXA scans can be used to diagnose osteoporosis. The test typically measures the hip, spine and forearm bone density and takes only five to fifteen minutes. While DXA scans expose patients to radiation, it is far less as the Amount by a standard chest x-ray.
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Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis
Your doctor may prescribe medication when diagnosed. You can be:
- Bisphosphonate: An antiresorptive medicine that slows down bone loss and reduces the risk of fractures.
- Estrogen agonist / antagonist: Approved for use in postmenopausal women and has been shown to reduce the risk of spinal fractures.
- Calcitonin: A fast-acting drug that promotes bone formation.
- Parathyroid hormone: Promotes bone formation through the use of this hormone.
Given that most osteoporosis cases are attributable to modifiable risk factors. Changing certain aspects of your lifestyle can reduce your risk. Ensuring that you get the right number of vitamins and minerals for good bone health helps significantly reduce the risk of fractures.
You can use the following behaviors to maintain healthy bone mineral density and prevent fractures with enough calcium:
This mineral is often found in our diet, but as we get older we need more of it. Adequate calcium intake is around 1,000-1,200mg per day. Women over the age of 50 and at be >
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