Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone tissues break and are not replaced by new bone tissues, resulting in porous bones. According to Mayo Clinic, the condition weakens the bone and makes it so brittle that even a small fall or cough can harm it or lead to fracture.

Osteoporosis can affect people of any age but older people and women are more likely to develop the condition. According to the US NIH, 53 million in the US suffer from osteoporosis or are at a higher risk of developing it.

The people with osteoporosis are at a risk of fractures and bone breakage even while performing their day to day activities like walking, bending and running. It mainly affects the wrist, spine and hips. Here are the causes, symptoms and treatment of the disease.


Osteoporosis: Causes

  • Osteoporosis may be the result of an underlying condition known as hypothyroidism or use of certain medications like cortisone and prednisone.

  • Age is another contributing factor of osteoporosis. Bone tissues break and are replaced throughout your life but after the age of 30, the bone begins to break faster than it can be replaced and this causes osteoporosis.

  • Hormonal changes during menopause between 45 to 50 years can also be a cause of osteoporosis in women.

  • Other causes of osteoporosis may include medical history of osteoporosis in the family, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, small-bone frame, underweight and smoking.

Osteoporosis: Symptoms 

At an early stage of osteoporosis, you might not have any symptoms and you may only come to know about it when you get a fracture. Though few symptoms may be:

  • weaker grip

  • weak and brittle nails

  • receding gums

  • hunched posture

  • back pain

If you do not have any symptoms or fracture but have a family history of osteoporosis, you must consult a doctor to discuss the risk factors.

Osteoporosis: Tests

If you have any risk factors that might contribute to the development of the condition, your doctor may examine you physically and take a few blood and urine tests to know if there's any underlying cause that can result in development of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is also diagnosed with a dual-energy absorptiometry scan which checks the bone density and compared it with the T score of the normal individual. A T score less than or equal to -ve 2.5 is diagnosed as osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis: Treatment

  • If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor may give you a combination of treatment and ask you make a few dietary and lifestyle changes. Doctor may advise you to increase the calcium and vitamin D intake and add some physical activity in your daily routine.

  • There is no specific cure for osteoporosis but the proper treatment and management of the condition may strengthen the bones, help in the formation of new bones and prevent any bone damage.

  • Your doctor may also prescribe a few medications which protects the bone mass and they include: bisphosphonates, alandronate, ibandronate, risedronate or zoledronic acid.

  • Hormone therapy is also one of the options for the treatment of osteoporosis. Testosterone therapy in men may increase the bone density of men whereas estrogen therapy after menopause may reduce the loss of bone density.

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Topics:  Bone Health   Osteoporosis 

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