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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis definition

Osteoporosis refers to a medical condition that affects the bone. This condition cause bones to become weak and fragile and so fragile that a fall or even mild stress like bending over and coughing may lead to a fracture. The fractures occur by osteoporosis are commonly hip fracture, wrist or spine.

The function of bone is constantly being broken down and replaced. In osteoporosis, the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone.

Osteoporosis can occur at any age of people, but more common in old age, especially women.

People with osteoporosis have a higher risk of fractures, or bone breaks while performing activities such as standing or walking.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

In the early stage of osteoporosis, you may not develop any warning signs and symptoms. In most cases, people who have osteoporosis don’t discover that they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture.

The earlier osteoporosis symptoms may include:

  • Receding gums
  • Weak and brittle nails
  • Weakened grip strength
  • Severe osteoporosis

 

Osteoporosis can worsen without appropriate treatment. The risk of fracture increases as the bone becomes thinner and weaker.

Symptoms of severe osteoporosis include:

  • Fracture from a fall or even from strong sneeze or cough.
  • Backache- caused by fractured or collapsed vertebrae
  • Loss of height over time- caused by a compressed fracture
  • A stooped pressure
  • Breaking of bone so more easily than expected

 

Osteoporosis pictures

This is how osteoporosis looks like

Osteoporosis risk factors

Osteoporosis risk factors

Age

Age is the biggest rest factor of osteoporosis. The process of bone remolding (break down of old bone and grows new bone) remains throughout life.

After the age of 30, the process of breakdown of bone becomes faster, and replacing the bone has become slower. This results in boneless dense and fragile, thus more prone to breakage.

Menopause

Menopause is another higher risk factor that occurs in women at the age of 45-55 years. Women in this age and have menopause tend to lose bone even more quickly, this happens because of changes in hormone levels associated with it.

Men also continue to lose bone at this age but at a slower rate than women.

However, reaching the age of 65-70 years both men and women start losing bone at the same rate.

Other risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Being female
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Physical activity
  • Low body weight
  • Small-boned fram
  • Senile osteoporosis

Osteoporosis diagnosis

Osteoporosis can be diagnosed by a test known as a bone density test.

Your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical examination to check for osteoporosis. They may also recommend blood tests and urine analysis to check for conditions that may cause osteoporosis.

In case your health care provider suspects that you have osteoporosis or you are at risk of developing it, they will advise you on a bone density test.

In the bone densitometry test, also dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) the x-rays used to measure the bone density in your wrist, hips, or spine. These three parts are at most risk of osteoporosis. DEXA is a painless test and it may take 10-30 minutes respectively.  

Osteoporosis diet

Along with your treatment plan, an acceptable diet may help strengthen your bones.

To maintain your bones healthy, you have to include certain nutrients in your everyday diet. Crucial ones are calcium and vitamin D. Your body needs calcium to take care of strong bones, and it needs vitamin D for the absorption of calcium.

Other nutrients that can promote bone health include protein, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc.

To learn more about a consuming plan that’s best for you, speak to your doctor. They’ll advise you in your food plan, or refer you to a registered dietitian who can create a diet or meal plan for you.

Osteoporosis treatment

Your doctor will create a treatment plan if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis. Your doctor may prescribe your medications and they may also advise you lifestyle changes such as increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D, as well as getting appropriate exercise.

For osteoporosis there is no cure, however, proper treatment can help you to protect and strengthen your bones. These treatments work by slowing down the process of breakdown of bone in your body, and some treatment of osteoporosis can spur the growth of new bone.

Osteoporosis medications

Bisphosphonates are the most common drugs which are used to treat osteoporosis. These drugs used to prevent the loss of bone mass. These may be taken orally or intravenously. These include:

  • alendronate (Fosamax)
  • ibandronate (Boniva)
  • risedronate (Actonel)
  • zoledronic acid (Reclast)

 

Other medications that are used to prevent bone loss or stimulate bone growth are mentioned below:

Testosterone- Testosterone therapy may help increasing bone density, in males.

Hormone therapy- In women estrogen therapy is used during and after menopause to help stop bone density loss. But estrogen therapy has also been associated with a greater risk of blood clots, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. 

Raloxifene (Evista)- This medication provides the benefits of estrogen without many of the risks but there is still an increased risk of developing blood clots.

Denosumab (Prolia)- This medication is may better that bisphosphonates at reducing bone loss. This drug is taken intravenously.

Teriparatide (Forteo)- This drug helps to stimulate bone growth and it is also given intravenously.

Calcitonin salmon (Fortical and Miacalcin)- This drug is taken as a nasal spray it helps in reducing bone reabsorption. Have a conversation with your doctor about any increased risk of cancer with this drug.

Romosozumab (Evenity)- This medication was approved in 2019 by the FDA for treating the women who have gone through menopause and at a higher risk of having fractures.

The medication is given in two injections under the skin (in the same sitting) once a month for a year or less. It has a “black box” warning because the Evenity can increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, so it’s not recommended for the people with a history of either.

The medication is given in two injections under the skin (in the same sitting) once a month for a year or less. It has a “black box” warning because the Evenity can increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, so it’s not recommended for the people with a history of either.

Osteoporosis prevention

There are many risk factors of osteoporosis that cannot be controlled such as age, being female, having a family history of osteoporosis. There are some factors that can be controlled.

Some methods to prevent osteoporosis include:

  • getting recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D
  • doing weight-bearing exercises
  • stopping smoking
  • for women, weighing the pros and cons of hormone therapy

Osteopenia vs osteoporosis

In case your doctor tells you that you’ve got osteopenia, you might assume you misheard the word “osteoporosis.” However, osteopenia is a separate situation from osteoporosis.

Not like osteoporosis, osteopenia is not a disease. Reasonably, it’s the state of getting low bone density. With osteopenia, your bones aren’t as dense as normal, but they’re not as weakened as they’re in case you have osteoporosis.

The main risk factor for osteopenia is old age. Your bone density peaks at age 35, and after that, it could possibly reduce as you grow old.

In many instances, osteopenia can result in osteoporosis, so in case you have osteopenia, it is best to take steps to strengthen your bones.

Senile osteoporosis

You’ll have heard of senile osteoporosis. This isn’t a separate kind — it’s merely osteoporosis that’s brought on by getting older when different possible secondary causes are excluded.

As mentioned above, age is the main risk factor of osteoporosis. Until proper prevention or treatment efforts are made, your body’s growing breakdown of bone can result in weakened bones and osteoporosis.

Based on world statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, about one-tenth of women aged 60 have osteoporosis, whereas two-fifths of women aged 80 have the disease.

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