Osteoporosis is a silent disease caused by the loss of bone density. It has been derived from greek words ostoun, meaning “bone”, and poros, meaning “pore”. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form new bone tissues and the bone mineral density reduces. It is classified in two types’ primary type 1 and primary type 2.

It is more common in elderly women after menopause. The osteoporosis after menopause is referred to as primary type 1 or postmenopausal osteoporosis. Primary type 2 osteoporosis or senile osteoporosis occurs after the age of 75 in both males and females.

There are no symptoms of Osteoporosis and it happens gradually over a period of time without any warning. Most of the time it is discovered only when someone has a fracture. The consequence of this disease is an increased risk of bone fractures. These fragility fractures occur in the spine, hip, ribs, and wrist. A hip fracture requires hospitalization, medical care and usually leads to walking disability. Fractures of the spine can result in loss of height, back pain, and deformity. Even coughing and sneezing can cause fractures in people with osteoporosis.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

  • Joint pains
  • Difficulty standing
  • Difficulty sitting up straight
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Stooped posture

Risk factors for osteoporosis

Gender–

Compared to men, women are twice as likely to develop osteoporosis. Experts say women have a lower bone density and live longer. The onset of menopause drops the estrogen level in women which accelerates bone loss.

Age–

As we grow old, bone density lowers and becomes fragile.

AIDS- 

AIDS patients have a significantly higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Cancer–

People who have gastric and breast cancer patients are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Ethnicity–

Studies have shown that people of Caucasian and South Asian descent are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Family history–

Like any disease, people who have a family history of osteoporosis are at an increased risk of developing this disease.

People with tiny frames

– People who have low body weight and small body frames are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis at old age.

Smoking – 

People who smoke run a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Early Menopause-

Women who have an early menopause are at a higher risk due to significant drop in estrogen levels.

Eating disorder–

People with eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia – have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Women aiming for size zero should know it has its own disadvantages. Improper diet, low calcium consumption and Vitamin-D deficiency too increase the risk factor.

Medications:

like cortico-steroids, anti-depressants, anti-coagulants, and cancer drugs increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Depression, Alcoholism, and a sedentary lifestyle reduce bone density thereby leading to osteoporosis. People with kidney, liver and thyroid disorders also have a high risk factor.

Osteoporosis diagnosis:

 The diagnosis can be done by any of the following methods:-

  • Conventional radiography
  • DEXA scan – this scan measures bone density. DEXA stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry.
  • Ultrasound
  • CT (computerized tomography) scan

Treatments:

  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Calcitonin is a hormone that slows down bone loss.

Prevention: 

The first step in prevention requires a lifestyle change. Proper diet with lots of Vitamin-D and Calcium helps a long way in preventing this disease. Vitamin K prevents bone loss. Daily exercises, weight training, increased physical activity and cutting down caffeine, alcohol, and smoking prevent osteoporosis. Intake of Calcium and Vitamin-D supplements also helps build bone mass.