Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones in a person’s body are steadily losing density making the bone porous. The porosity makes the bones weak or brittle, therefore making them more vulnerable to fracture. If suffering from Osteoporosis, it need not result in a fracture, but could cause aches and pains in most parts of the body even while carrying out simple and routine tasks, which are not stressful. With age, a slight change in composition of the bone and density is natural, and the condition is called osteopenia. But when the bone loss is significant and requires medical intervention – this condition is called osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis has been termed a silent killer. Unlike other diseases which show some symptoms, osteoporosis shows none. All those pains and aches that one dismisses as signs of ageing, or physical stress can actually be osteoporosis in action. That is why doctors advise frequent bone mineral density tests after the age of 50 for men and 40 for women. Diet and lifestyle are important factors in the occurrence of osteoporosis and its treatment. Both calcium and Vitamin D are important for bone health and consuming less of that over a long period of time can trigger the ailment.
Bones like all tissues and living organs in our body, undergo rejuvenation. Osteoporosis occurs when the rejuvenation cycle is not in synchronization with the removal of the old bone material (which is at a faster rate than the production of new bone material). Consequently, the bone weakens with aging and becomes brittle and even a simple act like bending can cause a fracture.
- Gender: Women are particularly prone to osteoporosis as production of estrogen the female hormone that regulates bone health reduces with age, and almost comes to a stop after menopause. So women lose bone mass a lot faster than men up to the age of 70 years. After 70, both men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. Also, women who exercise excessively or indulge in heavy physical work are likely to suffer irregular menstruations and this causes erratic production of estrogen, which in turn affects the cycle of bone rejuvenation.
- Age: Although the rate of loss of bone is the same for men and women above 70 years, women have been found to be twice as likely as men to have osteoporosis. This is determined based on genetic factors, or based on family history of broken bones, weak bones, osteopenia and osteoporosis. The condition of Osteoporosis could also be due to certain medications that is consumed for other ailments.
- Race: Caucasians of European and Asian Origin as well as other Asian races are more likely to develop osteoporosis compared to their Western counterparts.
- Medication: Certain medications like anticonvulsants, glucocorticoids and corticosteroids are known to cause osteoporosis or aggravate bone loss in those who already suffer from the ailment. Therefore, before taking prescription drugs, check to see if any of the named elements are present.
- Diet & Lifestyle: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have been found to be a huge contributing factor, along with a sedentary lifestyle. A diet poor in calcium and Vitamin D is also a common risk factor.
While age, gender, race, genetic factors, and low body mass cannot be always controlled, medication, diet and lifestyle-related causes can definitely be controlled. They form a part of the treatment for osteoporosis along with a whole class of drugs that have been effective in slowing down or stopping bone loss. However, each patient is unique and arriving at the right course of treatment requires thorough investigation.
NexGen is a premium Home and Healthcare services provider in the Bay Area. We have been helping thousands of people with the right course of treatment that helps arrest bone loss, together with improvement in the quality of their life.