Osteoporosis


OSTEOPOROSIS

Description:

Reduction in the quantity of bone or atrophy of skeletal tissue; an age-related disorder characterized by decreased bone mass and increased susceptibility to fractures.

Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption. The body may fail to form enough new bone, or too much old bone may be reabsorbed, or both. Two essential minerals for normal bone formation are calcium and phosphate. Throughout youth, the body uses these minerals to produce bones. Calcium is essential for proper functioning of the heart, brain, and other organs. To keep those critical organs functioning, the body reabsorbs calcium that is stored in the bones to maintain blood calcium levels. If calcium intake is not sufficient or if the body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet, bone production and bone tissue may suffer. Thus, the bones may become weaker, resulting in brittle and fragile bones that can break easily.

Usually, the loss of bone occurs over an extended period of years. Often, a person will sustain a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By then, the disease may be in its advanced stages and damage may be serious.

Even though osteoporosis can affect both men and women, it is most common among postmenopausal women. The female hormone, estrogen, is important for the preservation of bone mass. Inadequate estrogen during menopause causes accelerated bone loss. Without effective prevention, a woman can lose 20%-30% of her bone mass during the first 10 years of menopause. The osteoporosis process can operate silently for decades.

Over 20 million people have osteoporosis in the United States, and approximately 1.3 million people each year will suffer a bone fracture as a result of osteoporosis. In 1993, the United States incurred an estimated loss of 10 billion dollars due to loss of productivity and health care costs related to osteoporosis

Symptoms:

Many people don't realize they have osteoporosis until they fracture a bone. There are usually no other symptoms — although some older people may notice they are getting slightly shorter or have a hunched-over posture. Older people with osteoporosis are especially at risk of breaking a hip if they fall down.

Causes and Risk Factors:

The most common cause of osteoporosis is age. The older you get, the more bone loss you are likely to have, especially if you don't take in enough calcium.

The leading cause of osteoporosis is a lack of certain hormones, particularly estrogen in women and androgen in men. Women, especially those older than 60 years of age, are frequently diagnosed with the disease. Menopause is accompanied by lower estrogen levels and increases a woman's risk for osteoporosis. Other factors that may contribute to bone loss in this age group include inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, lack of weight-bearing exercise, and other age-related changes in endocrine functions (in addition to lack of estrogen).

Other conditions that may lead to osteoporosis include overuse of corticosteroids (Cushing syndrome), thyroid problems, lack of muscle use, bone cancer, certain genetic disorders, use of certain medications, and problems such as low calcium in the dietitian, and too much smoking and drinking.

Diagnosis:

If the doctor suspects osteoporosis, he or she will talk to the person and do an examination. The doctor will order X-rays of the patient's bones as well as a bone density test.

Treatment:

Once the doctor is sure of osteoporosis, he or she will treat the patient to prevent more bone loss. Usually, someone with osteoporosis is placed on medications that help slow down bone loss and is also advised to take calcium supplements.

Osteoporosis is a disease developed in the bones where the calcium is reduced in the bone mineral density. Bones contain calcium. Enough calcium in the body makes the bones grow stronger and healthier. Therefore intake of calcium is very much necessary for a person to prevent oneself from any bone diseases. Individuals suffering from osteoporosis must take more calcium in order to compensate even for the bone tissue. Those who have also experienced any breaking or cracking of the bones in any stages of their life should also make a point to take in more calcium in their daily food source.

Diet and exercise are important parts of osteoporosis treatment. People need a variety of healthy, calcium-rich foods and regular exercise, such as walking or running, to strengthen bones. Weight training or special exercises may be recommended.

Calcium and vitamin D supplements are also usually prescribed with any osteoporosis treatment, in order to ensure adequate levels and maximum effectiveness of the drug therapy. Sufficient calcium, vitamin D and protein intake not only helps to prevent osteoporosis, it is also important in helping to maintain bone density and muscle function in patients diagnosed with osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are especially important for individuals at high risk of fracture.

Calcium and Vitamin D are both nutrients that are related to each other. High amount of Vitamin D helps in absorbing more calcium and gives the bones much better structure and shape. Calcium also helps the body absorb more Vitamin D while the person is going for the foods rich in these contents. While consuming the food sources in order to increase the calcium and vitamin content, other appropriate nutrients are also provided to the body. This makes one build a healthier and stronger life.

Today there are a number of effective treatment options available that have been shown to act quickly, to maintain bone density and to reduce the risk of having fractures. It is important that the choice of treatment be tailored to a patient's specific medical needs and lifestyle.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on bone, although caution must be taken with its prescription.

Some Drugs related with osteoporosis include:

    Alendronate sodium (Fosamax).

  • Risedronate sodium (Actonel).

  • Ibandronate sodium (Boniva).

  • Zoledronic acid (Reclast).

  • Teriparatide (Forteo).

  • Raloxifene (Evista).

  • Calcitonin (Miacalcin, Calcimar, Cibacalcin).

  • Vitamin D.

  • Calcium.

Note: The following drugs and medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. This service should be used as a supplement to, and NOT a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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