The definition of Osteoporosis is that it is a medical condition when the density of bone decreases, the bones become weak and fragile. This leads to enhanced susceptibility of bone fracture. Osteoporosis causes the bone to become porous and spongy. When this happens then bone fractures are very likely to occur.
The skeletal system is an important part of the human body. The bones that constitute the skeletal system are composed of collagen protein, calcium and these two things give the bones the strength. Bones which are affected by the condition become weak and are susceptible to fractures. Fractures like cracking of the hips, fracture of the spine, vertebrae are common in individuals suffering from Osteoporosis. The spine, ribs, hips are most susceptible to fractures in patients suffering from the condition.
There are a number of factors, responsible for the occurrence of the condition. Although, the condition is more pronounced among females and those who are from Asia. Being thin and slim can also lead to Osteoporosis.
The condition is believed to occur because of genetic factors and those who had bone fractures are more inclined to suffer from the condition.
Besides, there are numerous other reasons that cause Osteoporosis among individuals like:
- Smoking of cigarettes
- Consumption of alcohol
- Diets with calcium deficiency
- Doing little or no exercise at all.
- Poor nutrition
- Poor health
- Sometimes, individuals are not able to absorb the food they eat, they get less nutrition and that can cause conditions like Osteoporosis.
- The estrogen levels in women post menopause, decreases and that can be a cause of the condition.
- In men, if the levels of testosterone decreases then Osteoporosis can occur.
- Cancer patients, after receiving chemotherapy, their bones may weaken.
- Inflammation due to diseases like arthritis or liver diseases.
- Paralysis or immobility after stroke is one of the important factors.
- Hyperthyroidism and Hyperparathyroidism.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
- Medicines like heparin and phenytoin can cause the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The condition can be there in individuals without any signs or symptoms. An individual knows about Osteoporosis, once his or her bone breaks or fractures occur. Many fractures related to the disease may go undetected for years and they do not cause any symptoms to occur. For some, if fractures related to Osteoporosis occurs then it is understood that the condition is prevalent.
The symptoms associated with the disease is a painful fracture. In Osteoporosis, pain occurs at the place where the fracture occurs. It is important to understand that the symptoms of Osteoporosis are similar for both men and women.
Some type of Osteoporosis results in the weakening of the spinal cords and vertebrae. In the context of Osteoporosis, it is important to say that many individuals fracture their bones while doing a normal activity and such fractures are referred to as stress fractures. Apart from the stress fractures, hip fractures are also common among individuals suffering from the disease. Healing of fractures caused as a result of Osteoporosis depends on the extent of the fractures.
Consequences of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis leads to bone fractures, pain in the bones, decreased life quality and disability. Patients suffering from the condition, hip fractures require long-term treatment in the nursing homes. Prolonged bed rests for elderly people can lead to blood clots, pneumonia. Sometimes, the condition leads to death. Those who suffer from fractures (especially in the spine) due to osteoporosis are susceptible to experience such fractures later.
Osteoporosis is a Public Health Issue
Many individuals are suffering from this disease across the world. Those who have not received proper nutrition, have genetic problems as far as osteoporosis is concerned, have received some kind of injury in the spine, legs or other body parts are prone to be affected by the disease. The aged people are more vulnerable to the condition. Since the disease is a public health issue, it becomes a responsibility on the part of the individuals to stay safe and live a healthy life. Avoiding the disease becomes important or else the patients are likely to suffer from pain, also the costs of fighting the condition are quite high.
Factors That Determine Bone Strength
The skeletal system is important in the human body. The bones that are part of this system needs to be strong having a greater bone density to avoid Osteoporosis. Besides, genetic factors, an individual’s habit, and environmental factors are responsible for the disease.
How To Diagnose Osteoporosis?
Health care professionals like endocrinologists, bone surgeons, rheumatologists, gynecologists treat the disease. To prevent Osteoporosis, it is better to test bones for the bone density. Bone testing is important for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Based on the results of the testing (bone), the physicians offer the patients the medicine they require to help them out of such conditions.
Treatment for Osteoporosis
Treatment for Osteoporosis implies, preventing fractures in the bone, reducing bone loss, and enhancing the strength of the bone. Early detection of the condition can prevent bone fractures and bone loss. However, it is to be understood that none of the treatment for the condition guarantees cures of the disease. It is difficult to rebuild bone that is affected by Osteoporosis and so preventing the disease is very important. There are certain treatment procedures that are important for optimal bone health.
1. Lifestyle Changes
Changes in the lifestyle like quitting cigarette smoking, do away with alcohol consumption, do regular exercises and an intake of a balanced diet. This is also how to prevent Osteoporosis.
Many individuals prefer to take medications that help to make the bones stronger, prevent bone loss. The medicines include alendronate (Fosamax), raloxifene (Evista), risedronate (Actonel), ibandronate (Boniva), zoledronate (Reclast), calcitonin (Calcimar), and denosumab (Prolia).
There are some medications that help to increase bone formation and they are teriparatide (Forteo).
3. Intake of Vitamin D and Calcium
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients for bone growth. Besides these nutrients, other treatment methods help to enhance bone growth. Lack of vitamin D intake causes depletion of bones, weakens them and increases the chances of fractures.
Intake of Vitamin D and calcium helps to make bones stronger, enhance the bone density and reduces the risk of bone fractures.
It is important to know the sources of Vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from a balanced diet, it comes from the skin, especially if it is exposed to sunlight.
For individuals, suffering from Osteoporosis, it is advised to take multivitamin tablets.
4. Hormone Therapy
For females, lack of estrogen causes Osteoporosis. For men, a decrease in the testosterone hormone in the blood causes the condition. Hormone therapy is another way to treat the condition. Hormone replacement therapy helps to reduce bone loss, increase bone strength and thereby prevent bone fractures. However, in this context, it is apt to mention that HRT or hormone replacement therapy is not recommended for long term use as it has multiple side effects and these include stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, blood clots in the veins.