What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones in the human body and causes them to become fragile so that they are predisposed to fractures with minimal effort. It is interesting to note that these fractures will usually occur at the spine, the hips as well as the wrist, but does have the capacity to affect other bones such as those located in the arm as well as the pelvic region.
The material posted on this page on osteoporosis is for learning purposes only. To learn how to recognize and manage skeletal emergencies that can be exasperated by osteoporosis sign up for standard or emergency first aid training.
What are some of the causative factors of osteoporosis?
To understand why these factors pose a great risk, it is important to comprehend bone structure and function. In young children, bones grow at a fast rate and undergo repair just as fast. This process, however, decreases as one ages. Bones will stop undergoing elongation at about 20 years of age, but will continue to increase in bone density. This goes on until about 40 years of age. From here, the bone density starts to decrease gradually, and while this is a normal process, it does predispose certain individuals to this condition. Apart from ageing, there are other factors that increase the chances of getting osteoporosis. They include:
- Diseases of the various glands that produce hormones in the human body. A perfect example is a thyroid gland that is overactive leading to a condition that is known as hyperthyroidism.
- Prolonged use of drugs which interfere with the bone structure and cause a decrease in the bone density. A perfect example of this is the use of prednisolone that is taken orally.
- Excessive drinking and tobacco smoking
- Problems that stem from the malabsorption of minerals that is important in bone formation such as Calcium.
What are some of the symptoms that characterize osteoporosis?
Sadly for many patients, this condition does not offer any warning sign as this will often be realized when one has experienced a minor fall that leads to fractures in their bones. In case your physician has reason to believe that you may suffer from osteoporosis, they may recommend for a test known as the bone density scan, and which is abbreviated as DEXA scan. It is important to have this test done as it is the most effective way of diagnosing the condition.
What are the treatment options available for patients with osteoporosis?
As a general guide, the treatment for this condition will depend on the extent of the fractures and will involve medication that is taken with the intent of making bones stronger and denser. What’s more, your physician will also look at the potential risk of getting fractures based on the results of your scan as well as your age. At this point, it is also important to make mention that there are steps that can be taken to prevent osteoporosis. Healthy eating, consistent exercise and a change in the lifestyle one needs will go a long way in ensuring that you are not at risk of developing the condition. Take steps to ensure that you do all you can to prevent yourself from developing this condition.