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Osteoporosis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by Ana

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes the bones weak and thin to the extent that they become very fragile and break easily. Men and Women suffering from Osteoporosis often break bones in the Hip, Spine and Wrist.

The word “Osteo” comes from Greek word that means “Bone” and” Porosis” means “Hole”. According to the Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, it is the reduction in the quantity of bone. It is an age-related disorder that is identified by the decrease in Bone mass and can lead to Fractures.


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According to the National Health Service, About 3 Million people in United Kingdom have Osteoporosis, causing 230, 000 Fractures every year.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that Osteoporosis is health threat for about 44 Million people in the USA, 55% of people are over 50 years.

Currently about 10 Million people are suffering from this disease and 34 Million people have low Bone Mass, which makes them at the risk of this disease.

What is a Bone?

Bone is a living tissue and growing tissue. It is made up of Collagen. It is a Protein that gives a soft structure and Calcium Phosphate to bones, which make them strong and hardens them.

The combination of Collagen and Calcium make the Bones stronger and flexible. About 99% of the body’s Calcium is found in Bones and Teeth and remaining 1% is found in the Blood.

Throughout one’s life time, the old bones are removed and new bones are added to the Skeleton.

During childhood, new bones are added faster as compare to the removal of old bones. For women, Bone loss is fastest in the few years after Menopause and it continues to Postmenopausal years. Osteoporosis mostly affects women as compare to women. This disease can not develop if you did not reach to the optimal peak bone during building years of bones.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Following are the risk factors for Osteoporosis

  • Female Gender
  • Asian race
  • Thin body
  • Small frame body
  • Family history of Osteoporosis
  • History of fractures
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low diet in Calcium
  • Poor diet
  • Poor health
  • Low Estrogen level in women
  • Low testosterone level in men
  • Chemotherapy
  • Amenorrhea also known as loss of Menstrual period.
  • Inflammation that is caused due to Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Immobility that occurs after Stroke.
  • Hyperthyroidism –  it is a condition in which too much Thyroid hormone is produced by the Thyroid Gland.
  • Lack of Vitamin D in the body.
  • Some medicines can also cause Osteoporosis.
  • Gastric Cancer
  • HIV Aids
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis mostly occurs without any symptoms for many years. It is revealed with the fracture of any bone. Men and women break the bones of their Hip, Spine and Wrist.

These fractures are the warning sign that your bones have become very weak. The main symptom of this condition is Pain in Bones.

Following are the few symptoms of this disease

  • Severe Lower Back pain.
  • Loss of height by curving of Spine.
  • Collapse of the Vertebrae.
  • Hunched- back appearance of upper back.
  • Dowager Hump.
  • Minimal Trauma ( a fracture that is occurred during normal activity)
  • Stress fracture.
  • Fractures that occur as a result of fall.
  • Joints pain
  • Difficulty in standing
  • Difficulty in sitting straight.

Consequences of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can lead to the fracture of bones which can cause pain the body. It decreases the quality of life and disability occurs. About 30% patients need long-term nursing and home care, if their bones get fractured. Elderly patients may develop Pneumonia and Blood Clots in the Veins that may travel to the Lungs. Osteoporosis can also cause death. 20% of women die due to the hip fracture. When a person experienced Spine fracture, there is a possibility that he or she may suffer from another fracture in the coming years.

Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

An X-ray test can detect this disease because the bones get very thin and weak. It is found till the time, the X-ray detects this disease, 30% of bones have already been lost.

X-rays do not show the exact density of bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation, the American Medical Association and other medical organization says that dual-energy X-ray should be used to diagnose this disease. Dual X-ray measure bone density in the Hip bone and Spine. This test takes 15 Minutes and the patient is exposed to very radiations.

The bone density of a patient is compared to the bone density of young adults of same age and sex. The score of bone density is known as “T Score”. It is expressed in the standard deviation form.

Following people should go for Dual X-ray tests

  • Menopausal Women below age of 65.
  • All women above 65 years.
  • Postmenopausal women having bone fractures.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that the bone density should be checked, if a person has any Osteoporotic fracture.

The bone density is not good, if a person is undergoing the test and don’t want to take treatment based on the results.

If the bone density is tested, it should be done on the people, who want to take some actions based on the results of the testing.

Treatment of Osteoporosis

The main aim of treatment of Osteoporosis is to prevent the bone fractures and to reduce the bone loss by increasing the density and strength of the bone.

The early diagnosis and the appropriate treatment of this disease can reduce the risk of fractures in future. It is difficult to rebuild the bone but the strengthening of bones id possible. Following the treatments and the preventive measures that can help in reducing this disease

  • Changes in Lifestyle

  • Quit smoking, decrease the intake of Alcohol, do exercise regularly and consume a balanced diet containing Calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Medications can help in the Bone loss and can enhance Bone strength.
  • Some medications can increase the process of Bone formation.
  • Avoid such exercises that can injure the weak bones. In the patients over 40 years and those who are suffering from Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure; exercise is must.
  • Marathon running in young women can lead to weight loss and also causes Menstrual period loss, which ultimately results in Osteoporosis.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy can treat this disease.
  • Testosterone treatment also helps in treating the condition of Bone loss.
  • Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D supplements increase the level of Vitamin D and Calcium in the body. They help to make bones strong.
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators and Stem Cell Therapy is very effective for the treatment of Osteoporosis.

Preventive Measures for Osteoporosis

Following are the preventive measures that should be taken to avoid this disease

  • Take Calcium in adequate amount.
  • Take Vitamin D as a part of your daily diet.
  • Go for regular exercise.
  • Try to eat Soy and other products that contain Soy.
  • Quit Smoking.
  • Decrease the intake of Alcohol.
  • Try to avoid too much Caffeine intake.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease. It ruins you from inside very silently by breaking out your bones. To keep bones strong, try to take diet that is rich in Calcium and Vitamin D.

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1 comment

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