Osteoporosis is a condition that results in reduced bone density and enhanced vulnerability of the bones. The detrimental thinning of the patient’s bones combined with the development of weaker bone crystals makes them highly susceptible to fractures.
Although osteoporosis itself doesn’t directly subject people to frequent falls, individuals with osteoporosis are at a greater risk of breaking their bones if they happen to fall down with common regions of fracture including the wrist, hip, and spinal vertebrae.
Osteoporosis leads to severe loss of bone density and intense danger of fractures. It can affect anyone, irrespective of age or gender, but women are the commonest sufferers. Studies have shown that over 40 million residents in the United States are living with osteoporosis, while many others are at a higher risk due to low bone mass.
Quick Facts on Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a bone-related disease affecting an individual’s bone structure as well as paralyzing the strength of the bones, increasing the risk of severe fractures. Certain risks associated with osteoporosis are alterable. These include poor nutrition and smoking. Postmenopausal women are likely to develop osteoporosis, but men and younger children can also be affected. Fractures often occur in the wrists, spine, and hips.
Osteoporosis is normally regarded as a silent disorder and there are no clear physical symptoms triggered by bone loss, though some people might experience pain. It’s imperative for people having osteoporosis to observe healthy measures that will help them to avoid falls and consequently reduce their risk to fractures, which could sometimes be fatal.
Treatments for Osteoporosis
- Exercise programs
- Bone density monitoring
- Dietary modifications: including vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium
Causes of Osteoporosis
Several risk factors have been found to increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Some of these are modifiable while others can’t be avoided. Asians and White people are more prone to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is common among people aged above 30 years, and people with a long history of previous fractures are at a greater risk, especially if the incident occurred when they were above 50 years of age.
Risk is greater if family members have been experiencing osteoporosis, especially if the parents or siblings have the disease. You can also develop osteoporosis through:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Reduced vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium
- Reduced sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone
- Inactivity or intensive immobility
- Anorexia nervosa and bulimia
Other aspects that accelerate osteoporosis risks include certain diseases or drugs that trigger hormonal changes and medications that interfere with bone mass. Diseases that cause such modification include the Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism.
People who undergo hormonal surgeries or use hormone therapies for a long time might also face greater risks for osteoporosis. Moreover, certain autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis are linked to osteoporosis. There are also medications that trigger the occurrence of osteoporosis, and they include:
- Thyroid hormone replacement
- Glucocorticoid, prednisolone, and prednisone treatment
- Anticoagulant and blood thinner therapies
- Thiazolidinediones that decrease bone formation
- Aromatase inhibitors
- Certain immunosuppressant agents like cyclosporine that play an important role in bone reabsorption and bone formation.
The risks associated with osteoporosis can be minimized by avoiding the possible triggers. If you think that the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to osteoporosis, simply consult your doctor for a confirmed diagnosis. If it’s found that you have osteoporosis, proper treatments will be prescribed to help in improving your condition.