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Learn What Osteoporosis Is and What It's Caused by

Osteoporosis comes from Latin which means ‘porous bones’ and osteoporosis is a bone disease where the bones become fragile and brittle. This happens due to decreased bone mass and bone tissue and such a condition is known as a silent disease since you would not feel it. For some, such condition appears only after they have broken a bone. The risk of fractures especially in the hips, spine and wrist area increases if you have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the reason behind 9 million fractures every year. This is the most common type of bone disease and it has affected almost 10 million Americans. Most women are at risk of this disease but men can also get affected by this condition. 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men are likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis.

What are the causes?

Bone is a growing tissue that is made up mostly of protein collagen which is the basis of a soft framework along with calcium phosphate that provides the required strength to the framework. In the early 20s, you have the highest bone mass and density and as you age you tend to lose bone in a rate in which your body cannot replace it. Due to this reason, older people are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

The chances of women getting affected by osteoporosis are higher because they have thinner bones than men. The hormone, estrogen helps in protecting the bones and this is present more in women. The level of estrogen decreases as the age increases thereby leading to the breakdown and brittleness of the bones.

What are the risk factors?

The risk factors of developing osteoporosis include the following:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Diseases such as multiple myeloma and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Here are some risk factors that you cannot change.
  • Being a woman who is going through a post-menopausal period.
  • Being above the age 50
  • Having thin or even small bones.
  • A family history of fractures.
  • Low level of estrogen in women or low level of testosterone in men.

What is secondary osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis might be the result of medical condition or treatment. This is called secondary osteoporosis where the disorders can even result in the extension of the bone marrow cavity which ultimately results in the weakness of trabecular bone. The causes of secondary osteoporosis include the following:

  • Liver impairment
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Serious kidney failure
  • Celiac disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Scurvy
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Thalassemia
  • Leukemia
  • Metastatic bone diseases
  • Some medications including steroids, pump inhibitors and medication for seizure.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

There are no warning signs or symptoms during the early stages of osteoporosis. Some of the earlier symptoms of osteoporosis include receding gums, weak and brittle nails along with weakened grip strength. If you do not observe any symptoms but there is a family history of osteoporosis then you must consider consulting a doctor.

Senile osteoporosis:

The osteoporosis that is caused by aging is senile osteoporosis. Age is one of the primary causes of osteoporosis. Without proper prevention or treatment, it can lead to weakened bones followed by osteoporosis. As per the Statistics of International Osteoporosis Foundation, it has been seen that about one-tenth of women above 60 years of age is affected by osteoporosis while about two-fifths of women aged above 80 is affected by osteoporosis.

What can be done?

Hormone therapy:

Hormone therapy is effective for women who are going through menopause. This is also termed as hormone replacement therapy is one of the treatment options. However, this method is not used by most of the doctors as it might lead to increasing the risk of heart attack, blood clots and breast cancer. This therapy includes either estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progesterone and it may come in the form of an oral tablet, skin patch, cream and injection.

Vitamin D and Calcium:

According to doctors, an adequate amount of vitamin D and calcium must be included in the diet. The proper amount of the vitamin and mineral can help with slowing bone loss. The primary mineral in the bones is calcium and vitamin D ensures that the body can absorb the required amount of calcium. The foods which are rich in calcium are dairy products, soy products, dark green vegetables and grains and bread. According to the NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases), 1000 milligrams of calcium is necessary for women in the age group 19 – 50 and for men in the age group 19 – 70. They also suggest that women above 51 years and men above 70 years of age must consume 1200 mg of calcium. The vitamin D consumption for adults under age 51 and above 70 must consume 600 and 800 international units (UI) respectively.

Physical activity:

The strength of bones is highly dependent on the amount of physical activity. Physical activity helps in slowing the process of bone loss. In some cases, it may also improve the bone density. Any kind of exercise can help in improving your balance and posture while decreasing the risk of falls. Strength training is beneficial for strengthening the bones in upper spine and arms. Physical activities such as walking, jogging or biking can also help for the bones in legs, lower spine and hips.

Many people are affected by osteoporosis for which there is no cure. Some treatments are available that includes hormone therapy, medications and exercise. In case you are affected by osteoporosis then you must consult a doctor. To book an appointment, you may visit the website https://patientmd.com/ . A doctor will be able to chalk out a treatment plan that can be beneficial for your health.