What is Osteoporosis?

The term "osteoporosis" implies "porous bone". It is a condition where the bone becomes fragile and susceptible to unexpected and sudden fractures. The disease is usually progressive, and you can't feel any pain or discomfort until the bones fracture. There is a considerable decrease in bone strength and mass. The bones comprise living tissue which constantly breaks down and regenerates. This particular condition arises when the creation of new bone cells fails to keep up with the loss of the bone cells.

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Osteoporosis is a condition where the bone becomes fragile and susceptible to unexpected and sudden fractures. The condition of osteoporosis can persist in your body for decades without any symptoms at all.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis: 

The condition of osteoporosis can persist in your body for decades without any symptoms at all. But there can be occasional symptoms, and you should know about them to identify the probable reason.

  • Continuous back pain arising from fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • A stooped posture when you stand or sit
  • Loss of height over time. 
  • Fractures are happening quickly, even when the impact has not been strong enough to break bones. 

Causes of Osteoporosis:

The bones of your body are in a constant state of renewal. Old bones break down to make place for the new bones. During the initial years after birth, the bone grows faster than the breakdown of the old bones. As a result, the bone mass increases. But with ageing, the process of destruction will be at the rate of production. 

However, how likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partially on your peak bone mass. The peak bine mass varies considerably with genetic inheritance and ethnic group. When you already have a higher peak bone mass, you will have more bone in storage. Hence, it will be less unlikely to develop the symptoms.  

When to See the Doctor:

If you are going through the menopause phase or have had to continue the intake of corticosteroids for many months at a stretch, it is essential to consult the doctor. Don't waste more time and visit the doctor when you feel that maximum symptoms are showing up or your parents had hip fractures. 

Risks for Osteoporosis: 

There are various reasons that can directly or indirectly contribute to triggering osteoporosis in your body. However, some factors increase the likelihood that you will develop the condition soon. The unchangeable factors include:

  • Your sex: Women are most likely to develop the disease than men as the estrogen hormone imbalance occurs in women. 
  • Race: being white or of Asian descent increases your probability of being a victim to the condition. 
  • Age: The risk of osteoporosis increases with ageing. 
  • Genetic line: if your parents or siblings have the condition, you are at high risk as the condition runs in the family. Your risk is higher when your father or mother has a fractured hip.
  • Body frame size: If you have small body frame, you are more likely to suffer from the condition. Small body frames will have less bone mass, and they won't have any to draw from while ageing.

Hormonal imbalance can also be a major causative factor of osteoporosis. 

  • Lower sex hormones weaken bones. The reduction of estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men work as catalysts to trigger the degradation. 
  • Excessive production of thyroid hormones can cause significant bone loss. 
  • Overactive parathyroid glands and adrenal glands can also be responsible for quick degeneration. 

You can control some factors which can lower the risk. For instance:

  • Add enough calcium and Vitamin D to your diet to avoid osteoporosis. 
  • Lead an active life instead of sedentary life.
  • Avoid consumption of tobacco and alcohol. 

How to Prevent Osteoporosis: 

As the condition is untreatable, you can only minimize the degeneration and discomfort by the prevention of the condition. The following prevention plans will help you to maintain the optimal health of bones.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Quit smoking and curtail excessive alcohol consumption, to begin with. Consume a balanced diet with lots of calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Medications to stop bone loss: Medicines like alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, raloxifene, and calcitonin can stop bone loss.
  • Medication to increase bone formation: You can have teriparatide based medicines. 

Treatments for Osteoporosis: 

Treatments for established osteoporosis cases include: 

  • Availing of medications for the condition. Most of the medicines aim to prevent further breakdown of the bones. 
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy works to elevate the level f oestrogen in your body. 
  • The inclusion of Calcium and Vitamin D in the diet will help to maintain the strength of the bones. 
  • Exercise daily for a specific period to keep the bones healthy, active, and strong. Practice two kinds of exercises. One is weight-bearing exercise like running, walking, ballet, tennis, and similar activities to put stress on bones. The other is the muscle-strengthening exercise like weightlifting.

Related Conditions: 

Many people with osteoporosis often don't realize that they have a condition. So it is very common to develop other health issues. Spine fractures are common. A series of such vertebral fractures can eventually cause compression of the spine., you tend to lose height and can lead to a condition called kyphosis. 

Maximum osteoporosis fractures involve the hips. Such fractures can be debilitating and dangerous. You can develop further complications too. As it is a painful condition, you have to prepare for bearing the pain the entire life mentally. Of course, you may be in a state of depression. But you must exercise and lead a normal life to stay happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the prime cause of osteoporosis?
The chief cause of osteoporosis is bone loss. It happens due to low estrogen levels in the body, which happens mostly after menopause. Estrogen is a reproductive hormone that contributes to bone building and maintenance.
2. How do you know you have osteoporosis?
If you notice the initial symptoms of the condition, you should rush to the doctor. The doctor will most probably suggest a bone density scan to measure the bone mineral density. The common procedure of the examination involves the use of dual-energy ray absorptiometry or bone densitometry.
3. What foods to avoid if you have osteoporosis?
You should limit or avoid food with high salt concentration, excessive Vitamin A, caffeine. Legumes, beans, alcohol, and wheat bran.

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