What is Osteoporosis?
A condition that affects the bones is known as osteoporosis. It essentially translates to ‘porous bones’ in Latin. Humans tend to have small spaces between their bones which is like a honeycomb. What this Disease essentially does is that it increases the size of these spaces in turn causing the bone to lose its density and strength. As a result, another thing that happens is that the outside of the bones also tends to become thinner and weaker.
There are no different types of osteoporosis, however, what happens is that even though it can happen to anyone, it is most commonly found in older adults and specially women. The most commonly affected bones due to this are the hips, ribs and the bones in the spine and the wrists.
The thing about osteoporosis Symptom is that they do not show any Signs when they are in the early stages. A lot of people do not even know they have this Disease till they do not have a fracture or an accident of any kind. However, when the Symptoms do start showing, they look something like this:
- The individual starts facing a problem of receding gums
- The grip strength weakens over time
- Nails tend to become brittle and weak
Apart from these osteoporosis Signs and Symptoms that start showing up, if you tend to have a family history of osteoporosis, then it is best to consult a doctor and get yourself checked for any future possibilities and help in assessing the Risk.
Who is at Risk?
As mentioned above, any individual may be prone to osteoporosis Risk Factors however, having said that, there are certain cases in which an individual might be more at Risk of getting this Disease.
- Age – this is one of the biggest contributing factors like we have discussed above. The elder you are, higher are the chances of you getting it.
- Gender – females are more prone to getting this as compared to their male counterparts
- Menopause – due to the change in the hormonal level that happens in women when they are around the age of 45 to 55, it can cause their body to lose bone more quickly.
- It is said that Asians and Caucasians are more likely to get osteoporosis.
- Genes and family history also play a role in this. If someone in your family already has it, then it is better that you get yourself checked.
Understanding osteoporosis Causes is imperative in order to protect yourself from it or to get the right Treatment for it. We have discussed some of the common Causes for this Disease which you should keep a look out for:
- There are certain medications that might lead to the space between the bones to increase in size. These include corticosteroids like cortisone and prednisone which has been injected in the body for a period of time.
- Medical conditions like hyperthyroidism is also known to contribute to osteoporosis.
- How much bone mass you have attained in your youth can also increase or decrease the chances of being Diagnosed with this. The higher the bone mass, the better it is for you.
How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
For osteoporosis Diagnosis is best to consult a doctor if you are facing some of the Symptoms that we have mentioned above. Below, for your reference, we have mentioned how the process of Diagnosing this looks like as well:
- The most common thing and first and foremost thing that you will be asked to do is to get a bone density scan done. This test will help to measure your bone mineral density (BMD). Diagnosis centres will most commonly conduct this through the process of using DXA or DEXA or even densitometry.
- A bone X-ray is another osteoporosis test that will also be done to understand how the bones look like within your body. It helps to Diagnose any fractured bones which are sometimes the reason why an individual gets osteoporosis.
- A CT scan of the spine is also performed to evaluate the alignment of the bones and any possible fractures. It can also help to measure bone density and whether there are any vertebral fractures that can occur in the future.
- An MRI of the spine will be helpful in assessing for vertebral fractures to understand for any underlying Disease like cancer and also to understand how old or new the fracture is. New fractures are usually easier to Treat as they respond faster and better to Treatment and hence understanding if they are old or new becomes important.
These are some of the most common and widely practised ways to Diagnose this Disease which is also implemented and followed by the best- and well-known rheumatologist and by even a general doctor or physician who Treats Disease as well. However, despite how the Diagnosis looks like, it is always best to consult a doctor before starting any sort of exercise, Treatment or medicine yourself. For all we know, it might end up making your condition worse.
How is Osteoporosis Treated?
Osteoporosis Treatment has to have a certain Treatment plan in place which your doctor will help you out with:
- One of the things that the doctor will do is to prescribe some osteoporosis medications which will usually also include best calcium supplements for osteoporosis.
- The next thing your doctor will do is to make changes in your lifestyle which includes getting appropriate amount of exercise and increasing your intake of vitamin D and calcium.
- Following a healthy lifestyle will help improve your bone health as there is no set Treatment in place.
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How can Osteoporosis be Prevented?
There are some very basic things that can be incorporated in your daily life in order for osteoporosis Prevention are:
- Make good lifestyle choices by including weight-bearing exercises that will help to strengthen your bones and also improve their motion.
- Ensure that you get your daily recommended amount of vitamin D and calcium so that your bones can remain strong
- If you are in the habit of smoking, then we recommend that you quit this habit for your own benefit.
- Women might want to consider hormone therapy by weighing out its pros and cons.
If you have still not been Diagnosed with it but feel like you might then it is best to consult a doctor and understand what steps you can take to Prevent it from happening to you in the future.