Osteoporosis occurs when the density and strength of the bone in an individual decreases as compared to that of a normal person. Our body generally keeps forming new healthy bone tissue to replace the old and damaged bone. When the process of renewal of this old, worn and torn as well as damaged bone slows down due to certain reasons, Osteoporosis occurs. The term, osteoporosis literally means Porous bones.
This condition can occur both in men and women. However,it is more commonly found in women especially, after they have hit their menopause. This is because the levels of the hormone oestrogen drop markedly after Menopause. Men who smoke and have a poor diet are more prone to osteoporosis. It is fairly common and as per studies, one and two women and one in four men, over the age of 50 are prone to breaking a bone due to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis makes a person more prone to fractures upon a fall or injury especially, to spine, wrists and hip bones.
The causes of osteoporosis include:
- Poor diet
- Alcohol intake in excess
- Tobacco chewing
- Genetic predisposition
- secondary to certain other diseases like COPD,Cancer,hyperthyroidism,hyperparathyroidism, cushing’s disease and certain other autoimmune conditions.
- Secondary to intake of medications, such as: steroids, thyroid hormone, blood thinners,proton pump inhibitors etc.
Risk factors of Osteoporosis
- Being over the age of 50
- Being a woman
- Family history of Fractures or osteoporosis
Symptoms of osteoporosis:
There are no tell-tale symptoms of osteoporosis. It is often referred to as a Silent disease. Many people come to know that they have this only after they have suffered from a fracture. Some symptoms that should ring a bell include:
- a generalized feeling of weakness
- Vague bone pain
- Bending of spine
- recession of gums
- Brittle nails
- weakened grip
- Back or neck ache
Diagnosis of osteoporosis
The diagnosis is by means of a special X-Ray scan known as DEXA scan
Treatment of osteoporosis
The mainstay of the treatment is:
- Dietary modification which includes consuming a diet rich in Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium.
- Patient may be advised Physiotherapy exercises.
- Drugs to Slow Down bone loss and improve quality of life.
- The commonly prescribed medicines include Bisphosphonates, Calcitonin, oestrogen based hormone therapy, supplements etc.
Prevention of osteoporosis
- Consuming Vitamin D and Calcium products, fortified cereals,green leafy vegetables.
- Lifestyle changes include regular exercise such as walking or yoga
This is a serious disorder that can affect older individuals. It can lead to painful fractures that take a long time to heal. Secondary complications to fracture, such as that of hip joint are long term bed rest leading to blood clots, bed sores and pnuemonia. Therefore, for Osteoporosis prevention is always better. Go for regular health checkups and DEXA scan after the age of 50 to rule out this fairly common ailment.
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