Osteoporosis literally means pores (or holes) in bones. It is a bone disease wherein the bone density of the body decreases below the normal for that age. Usually occurring in post-menopausal women, it is further compounded by the fact that at the same time the body produces new bone very sparsely.
Though occurring in both men and women, Osteoporosis is much more common among women after their menopause. This is because, with menopause, oestrogen (the hormone that primarily prevents bones from erosion) suddenly decreases to a great extent.
As the density of bone is decreased to below normal levels, affected people become prone to fractures, even with the slightest of injuries or falls. Bones around the hips, wrists and the spine are most prone to breakage as they are the weight bearing struts. Smoking and poor diet are other risk factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis and Osteopenia.
Before osteoporosis sets in (pre-menopause), the aim is to build bone mass and slow down bone erosion.
Once osteoporosis sets in, treatment is aimed at
The treatment of osteoporosis is multi-pronged, and involves a combination of lifestyle modification, good nutritious diet, regular exercise and medication. Drugs used today include:
In most cases, Osteoporosis is silent disease (symptomless) and takes many years to reach a point where clinical attention is sought. Most of the people do not even understand that they are suffering from Osteoporosis till they actually suffer from a fracture with the slightest of injuries or falls. The condition may sometimes worsen to a level where a fracture can happen even from sneezing or coughing. If these fractures occur in the spine, a permanent change in the posture can be noticed.
The causes of Osteoporosis can be divided into 2 groups:
Unavoidable or Non-modifiable factors
Modifiable risk factors
The other risk factors include:
There are certain medicines and health conditions which can worsen Osteoporosis:
Calcium and vitamin D are the most essential components of human bones. If a young adult of 19 years or above consumes calcium less than 1000mg/day then he or she is exposed to greater risk of lower bone density after 30 years of age. For women aged >51, the minimum daily intake should be 1,200mg.
All Orthopaedic surgeons recommend regular bone mineral density screening (DEXA scan) especially for women aged 65 years and over.
This post was published on January 16, 2019 8:09 pm
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