Osteoporosis is a name that you often hear around you. It is a common disease, which is thought to be an old age problem. The name itself gives an impact that it is related to the bones.
Explaining the disease, osteoporosis is indeed a bone disease. It has got its name from the Latin language, which means “porous bones”. The pore is a small hole and porous bones define a condition in which you get multiple pores in bones.
In order to understand what osteoporosis is, take an imaginary tour of your inside body. Consider bones to be one complete intact entity, which has small spaces inside it. It looks somewhat like a honeycomb.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which these compartments increase the size. When they are enlarging, it makes the bone will no longer be able to maintain its intactness. It will lose the density and the bone as whole will become weaker.
So who is a victim of osteoporosis? It can occur at any stage of life. Mostly the patients are of older age, particularly women but that doesn’t mean that others are free of its risk.
Only in the USA, there are over 53 million people which have osteoporosis or at the maximum risk of it. You can’t really say that it is not common. The patients of osteoporosis have more chances to get a fracture, physical injury basically.
The target areas, which are at maximum chance of an injury, are ribs, hips, spine, wrist, and thighs.
What are the primary symptoms of osteoporosis?
The earliest signs may not even get noticed. It is normal for it not to show effects at the start. Most of the cases are of people, which never even thought of having it until it was diagnosed.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis only takes place when there is already a medical condition i.e. an injury. That is the only time, which tells the doctor about it.
However, sometimes the symptoms appear as minor effects. They are not really a visible thing but if you are extra conscious about your health, you will notice it anyway.
- These effects include the following.
Appearance of receding gums
- Body pains
- Grip of limbs becoming weaker
- Brittle nails which break too often
- Excessive hair fall
- Pain in joints especially during movement.
The chances to notice these symptoms and be sure about them. Even if someone doesn’t feel any of these symptoms, he is also at risk, only if there is a family history of osteoporosis.
What should you expect in osteoporosis?
At earlier stages, osteoporosis may not be anything but just a minor discomfort. If it is ignored and the patient doesn’t seek a medical care, it will turn into a severe form and cause more problems.
The worst effect is that the bones will get more and more pores in them. They will get thinner with time and eventually you will be at a higher risk of getting an injury even from a minor wrong movement.
For example, if you fall slightly by any chance, it will eventually cause you a fracture. The risk is so high that even a strong cough or sneeze can also cause a trouble in extreme osteoporosis stage.
The body slowly becomes incapable of movement. The bones start to bend, as they are no firmer to stand and support the body. It can cause a back or neck pain.
It is one of the common reasons why the height of a person looks to be shorter when in old age. Especially when the person is suffering from osteoporosis or any other bone disease.
What are the common causes of osteoporosis?
You may think that osteoporosis is an old age disease but actually there are more factors, which contribute to it. Some of these factors are as follows.
- Age of the patient
The biggest known cause of osteoporosis is the age. You may never feel this until you are young and it only starts taking action when your body is on the verge of aging.
The breaking and repairing of the bones is a normal part of the growth but when you are aging, the repair system doesn’t remain that efficient. The result is a delayed repair, which is a prominent reason for severe forms of osteoporosis.
- Menopause in women
This is the reason why women are more likely to get affected by osteoporosis. Its because menopause is one major contributing factor. Menopause occurs after the age of 40 to 50.
It is just a hormonal shift, which causes the body to go towards a declining stage. Men are a surfer of aging too but their process is a lot slower than women.
- Other medical conditions
Osteoporosis may never be a primary infection. Rather it can be an outcome of other medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism. Not just the disease, certain medications can also increase the risk.
The long-term use of cortisone and prednisone are linked with an increased chance of having osteoporosis.
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Who is at a risk of osteoporosis?
Following situations increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Being a woman
- Passing through aging
- Of Caucasian or Asian origin
- A family history of osteoporosis.
- Excessive medication
- Less or no physical movement
- Small bone frame of the body
- Underweight people
Any of these or a combination of all these factors play the part for the development of osteoporosis. However, most of these factors are controllable. You can help yourself by living a healthy lifestyle.
How to diagnose osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis needs a complete history check of the patient. It involves the medical history, medication, and daily life routine. The diagnosis also means that you will be tested for the general blood and urine tests.
The best is to check the bone density. The doctor will suggest if you need it or not. If there is the slightest hint of osteoporosis, the bone density test is recommended.
The test is bone densitometry, which is a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry test. Like the name explains, it uses X rays to measure bone density inside the body.
The doctor will suggest which part to be checked for it. The commonly tested areas are hips spine, ankles or wrists. It is a painless test and only takes half an hour maximum.
The available treatment options for osteoporosis
If the diagnoses confirm that you are suffering from osteoporosis, the doctor will make an accurate treatment plan for you. He will prescribe your certain medication but more than that, it’s the lifestyle changes, which are required.
- Healthy diet
- Physical activeness
Unfortunately, there is no cure for treatment. You can’t take a certain medication, hoping to get better in a couple of days. The symptoms will heal and become less problematic but they won’t just disappear one day.
Is there a natural treatment for osteoporosis?
Most of the people are scared of medicines because of the possible side effects that they may cause. All they want is a mild solution, which doesn’t have side effects.
It is better to find natural alternatives but one has to be very precise in selecting them. You can start by taking supplements, eating the right type of foods and activities.
One important thing is that never ignore a symptom. If you are aging, ignoring such symptoms can become a severe problem afterward. It is better to make priorities and keep health on above all.