Osteoporosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Osteoporosis often was thought to be a condition that frail elderly women develop. Osteoporosis leads to literally abnormally porous bone that is more compressible like a sponge, than dense like a brick. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone leading to an increase in the risk of breaking bones (bone fracture). A broken bone can really affect a woman's life.
It can cause disability, pain, or loss of independence. It can make it harder to do daily activities without help, such as walking. If you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk for fractured bones (broken bones), particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. In most cases, bones weaken when you have low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in your bones.
The process of bone remodelling from resorption to matrix synthesis to mineralization normally takes about 8 months--a slow but constant process. The disease is 'silent' because there are no symptoms when you have osteoporosis, and the condition may come to attention only after you break a bone. Osteoporosis can also accompany endocrine disorders or result from excessive use of drugs such as corticosteroids.
Osteoporosis can cause a person to stoop forward and appear to have a hump on his or her spine. The most serious and debilitating osteoporotic fracture is the hip fracture. The goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent such fractures in the first place. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Most hip fracture patients who previously lived independently will require help from their family or home care. In the United States, nearly 10 million people already have osteoporosis. Another 18 million people have low bone mass that places them at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis.
Any bone can be affected, but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine. One out of every two women and one in four men over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. A hip fracture almost always requires hospitalization and major surgery. Normal bone is composed of protein, collagen, and calcium. Bones that are affected by osteoporosis can fracture with only a minor fall or injury that normally would not cause a bone fracture.
Causes of Osteoporosis
The common causes and risk factor's of Osteoporosis include the following:
* Family history of osteoporosis.
* Anorexia nervosa.
* Lack of exercise or long-term bed rest can cause weak bones.
* Small, thin women are at greater risk.
* Certain medications eg steroids.
* Drinking alcohol.
* Lack of dietary calcium.
* Inactive lifestyle.
* Low testosterone levels in men.
* Longer postmenopausal interval.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Some sign and symptoms related to Osteoporosis are as follows:
* Back pain, which can be severe if you have a fractured or collapsed vertebra.
* Broken bones.
* Loss of height over time, with an accompanying stooped posture.
* Dull pain in the bones or muscles.
* Neck pain.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Here is list of the methods for treating Osteoporosis:
* A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
* Alendronate (Fosamax®): This drug belongs to a class of drugs called biophosphonates and is approved for both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
* You may need quite strong pain killers (analgesics), for quite some time, in the event of an osteoporotic fracture.
* A healthy lifestyle.
* Biphosphonates: This type of medication is used to arrest the progress of osteoporosis and even reverse it. They encourage the laying down of calcium in the bones. One of these is also used when people have to be on long term steroids.
* Calcitonin is another medication used to decrease bone loss.
* Sodium fluoride can increase the measured bone density in vertebra, but seems to have no overall effectiveness in reducing vertebral fracture.
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