Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weakened and brittle. It occurs when removal of old bones occur at a faster rate than formation of new bones. Although anybody can develop osteoporosis, it is more common in older women of white or asian race. Your bones become so brittle that even a small fall can cause a break. It is a silent disease. You may not even know you have the disease until you fall. Taking in adequate amount of calcium, vitamin D and regular exercise can prevent one from getting the disease.
Bones are constantly being renewed and resorbed. In the case of osteoporosis, the old bone resorption rate is faster than new bone formation or the body may not be producing enough new bones. It could also be from the fact that too many old bones are being resorbed. Peak of bone density is reach around age 25. It is important to build strong bones by that age so that bones will remain stronger at a later life. After this age, bone mass is lost faster than created.
[nextpage title="Risk Factors"]
Certain factors may put one at high risk of getting osteoporosis than others. These include the following :
Women are at more risk than men to develop the disease especially women with a small frame.
Being from a White or Asian descent puts you at risk of osteoporosis.
The older you get, the greater your risk for the disease.
Having a family member with the disease puts you at risk of getting it too.
Having Rheumatoid arthritis puts you at risk of getting this condition.
Women who are post menopausal may have high risk.
Using certain medication like corticosteroids make you highly susceptible.
Smoking cigarette makes you a high risk candidate for this disease.
Having an inactive lifestyle may put you at risk.
Osteoporosis is asymptomatic in its early stages but as the disease progresses the following symptoms may show.
- low back or neck pain
- loss of height over time
- stooped posture
- fractures of the hip, spine or wrist
[nextpage title="Test and Diagnosis"]
TEST AND DIAGNOSIS
Your doctor may ask you certain questions regarding your history, life style and certain conditions. He may then order the most common test for osteoporosis.
The DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) : It measures the bone density of the spine, hip, or total body. An X-ray machine moves quickly over your lower spine and hip area . Scanning is painless and fast.
Osteoporosis cannot be reversed but some medications and regular exercise together with adequate intake of calcium and vitamins D may prevent the disease or slow down bone mass loss.
Common prescription medications for this disease are bisphosphonates. These medications present unpleasant side effects like nausea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing or esophageal ulcers. Some of the medications include the following :
- Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
- Alendronate (Fosamax)
- Ibandronate (Boniva)
- Zoledronate (Reclast)
Menopausal hormone replacement therapy : This is known to prevent bones fracture or preserve bone. It can be estrogen or a combination of progestin and estrogen. This therapy can however increase a woman’s risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer or breast cancer. Raloxifene (Evista) may be taken instead of the therapy. It mimics the effects of the menopausal hormone replacement therapy without the associated risks.
Testosterone replacement therapy can help increase bone density in men.
Exercise : Regular exercise can reduce your risk of osteoporosis related fractures and this should be combined with treatment.
[nextpage title="Home Remedies"]
Do not smoke as it reduces bone mass.
Consuming alcohol in excess may reduce bone mass and prevent calcium absorption by the body.
Avoid falls. Keep room well-lit and remove all obstacles that may make you trip and fall. Avoid wet floors.
Hip fracture from fall may cause disability or even death.
Bone loss can result in stooped posture, loss of height and back pain
Eat balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Avoid sedentary life style
Reduce your alcohol intake and do not smoke.