What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis makes your bone weak and brittle that even mild stress on them such as bending over can cause a fracture. The most common fractures due to osteoporosis are in the hip, wrist, and spine. Osteoporosis is a mismatch between making and losing bone tissue. Normally, bone tissue is destroyed by our cells and new bone tissue is produced. When there is more destroyed bone tissue than a new one, osteoporosis occurs.
What is the cause?
In young people bone tissue is produced much faster than destroyed by special bone cells. However, as we grow old, this process becomes the opposite: bones are destroyed faster, and our body can’t compensate for that loss of bone tissue. There are several causes of this:
- Sex – women are more prone to osteoporosis, especially after menopause
- Age – older people are at greater risk of osteoporosis
- Race – white and Asian people are more likely to get it
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Low calcium intake – calcium is one of the main minerals in bones. Low calcium intake means low mineralization of bones, decreased bone density, and eventually osteoporosis
- Steroids - Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid interferes bone renewal process
- Sedentary life, alcohol, smoking
Symptoms of osteoporosis
Usually, there are no symptoms of osteoporosis, particularly in the early stages of bone loss. Once your bones become weaken enough, you may experience:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- oss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
How is it diagnosed?
To check your bone density, done density scan known as DEXA scan is needed. It uses low-dose radiation to determine the density of your bones. There is no specific preparation for this procedure. Usually, only certain bones are checked — usually in the hip and spine.
Treatment of osteoporosis
Treatment is determined based on your DEXA scan results. Treatment recommendations are often based on an estimate of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years. If your risk isn't high, treatment might not include medication and might focus instead on modifying risk factors for bone loss and falls. But in case there is a high risk, medications called bisphosphonates are the choice of treatment. After taking these medications in the morning, you should not lie in the bed for at least 30 minutes as it can cause serious nausea and abdominal pain. Also, it is important to have a proper calcium diet, physical activity, and to limit alcohol intake as these measures can slow progression and decrease fractures.
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