Saturday, 14 January 2012
What are the Symptoms and Causes of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disorder which is related to weak bones. It is a deficiency by which the bones lose their normal thickness and become brittle. As such patients with Osteoporosis disease are at much larger risk of bone fractures. This disorder normally takes place between 20 to 30 years of age of an individual and goes on increasing with age. All the bones in the body are affected but the major portions are the spine, wrists and legs. It has also been found that women are more prone to Osteoporosis then men which is due to the fact that women have less bone muscle structures then men as well as the dropping rate is quicker during menopause.
Causes of Osteoporosis – There are various causes for the occurrence of Osteoporosis and most of them are related to a person’s lifestyle.
· The most common cause of this disorder is faulty eating habits. A diet which consists of less amount of calcium and vitamin D is the main cause of Osteoporosis.
· Estrogen levels – Estrogen is a major ingredient for the development and protection of bones. If one has low estrogen level, he is at a greater risk of developing this disorder. This is, in fact, the cause of Osteoporosis being higher in women as during menopause their estrogen levels are decreased considerably.
· A history of bone fractures earlier can result in low Bone Mineral Density (BMD) which in turn can increase the risk of Osteoporosis.
· Another factor responsible for this disorder is over consumption of alcohol which results in lowering the calcium supply which is directly related to Osteoporosis.
· The same is the case with smoking wherein the calcium levels drop as well as hinder the process of estrogen in the body.
· Having a low body weight or an underweight person having a low bone mass may result in Osteoporosis.
· Along with these, there are various medical problems such as kidneys, thyroid hormones or intestinal problems which may directly or indirectly be the cause of Osteoporosis.
· Lastly, hereditary factors can also be the cause of Osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis –
Osteoporosis is difficult to diagnose earlier as there are no symptoms as such. A person leads a normal life and until and unless he falls or has a bone fracture, will the diagnose of Osteoporosis comes into the forefront.
Osteoporosis is a slow process which develops throughout the year. In Osteoporosis, the minor fall can bring about broken bones e.g. breakage of wrist or spinal bones. Even a sneeze or cough can bring about fracture of the rib. A clear indication of Osteoporosis in older people is the bending forward position wherein the bone structure is weakened to support the weight of the body.
Treatment of Osteoporosis:
The overall treatment of Osteoporosis relates to stopping of bone loss, prevention of fracture and controlling pain. For these, the following treatment is prescribed –
· The most important part for treatment of Osteoporosis is to improve the calcium level in the food. A calcium and vitaminD-rich diet should be provided to the person. Along with these, proteins also are needed in the diet. A diet which consists of cheese, leafy vegetables, salmon and low-fat milk is an ideal diet.
· Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol.
· Try to prevent falls by staying alert and taking precautions like avoiding sedative medications or not going out on icy days or using support bars in bath tubs.
· Certain drugs like Bisphosphonales and Calcitonin are prescribed which slows down the drop in bones as well as relieves pain.
· Sometimes Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is used but it is risky and mostly not approved by many doctors.
· Another treatment is through parathyroid Hormone like Forteo which is less risky and is approved.
· Lastly, exercises are commended for patients having Osteoporosis. Exercises strengthen the muscles having overall effect on the bones.
· Surgery is not recommended in Osteoporosis but a procedure known as vertebroplasty can be tried out after getting medical support.
Thus, Osteoporosis is a very complex disorder and as such care should be taken for prevention of this disease. Some simple preventive steps can be taken in your everyday life for this –
· Exercises like walking.
· A healthy calcium, vitamin D and protein rich diet.
· Avoid smoking and alcohol.
· Consultation with family doctor for hereditary factors regarding osteoporosis.