Osteoporosis is common disorder among elderly people. Main osteoporosis symptoms are frequent fractures and bone mass loss. Osteoporosis treatment and diagnostics nowadays are performed swiftly and very successfully. What are the specific characteristics of this disease and how not to miss worrying signs of its development we will talk below.
Did you know that your skeleton loses old bone and forms new bone? New bone forms quicker than old bone is lost during your childhood and teenage years. Around the age of twenty, your bones start to get denser and reach their peaks. You may start to lose more bone than you form and the process speeds up as you age. When this happens, the bone becomes less dense and weak. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis.
WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones to the extent that mild physical stresses, such as bending or even coughing can cause bones to fracture. These fractures happen mostly in the hip, wrist or spinal region. The body constantly breaks down bone and then replaces it but when a bone becomes osteoporotic, the body can’t create enough new bone tissue fast enough to keep up with the removal of old bone tissue. The precursor to osteoporosis is osteopenia, when bone density is below normal peak density but not enough to be classified as osteoporosis.
WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING OSTEOPOROSIS?
Generally, women are more prone to developing this disorder. This is due to the fact that they can lose up to twenty percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years after menopause. After menopause or after surgical removal of ovaries, the decrease in oestrogen (hormone that protects the bones) leads to bone loss and increases the risk of fractures.
Men can also be affected by osteoporosis although it is relatively less common. Both the oestrogen and testosterone are important for bone health in men. Poor lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol intake, smoking or extreme thinness can lower the level of such hormones in your body leading to bone loss.
Building strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence can help to prevent or delay the disease later on in life.
- Back or neck pain
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
OSTEOPOROSIS TREATMENT OPTIONS
The type of treatment that may be recommended is based on an estimate of the risk of breaking a bone in the next ten years using information such as the bone density test.
Treatment might not include medication and might focus instead on lifestyle, safety and modifying risk factors for bone loss if the risk is not high.
Treatment options for bone mass loss include:
- Hormone therapy: Estrogen is used frequently, shortly after menopause and can improve bone density. This treatment can increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, breast cancer and heart disease and is generally only used if menopausal symptoms need treating also.
- Medication: Drugs such as Alendronate, Risendronate, Ibandronate and Zoledronic acid are often prescribed for men and women with increased risk of fracturing.
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES AVAILABLE TO DETECT OSTEOPOROSIS
- Bone density test (bone densitometry): A bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. This test helps to estimate the density of your bones and your chance of breaking a bone. You can find out whether you have osteoporosis or if you should be concerned about your bones by getting a bone density test. Some people also call it a bone mass measurement test. This test uses a machine to measure your bone density. It estimates the amount of bone in your hip, spine and sometimes other bones. Your test result will help your healthcare provider make recommendations to help you protect your bones.
- X-Rays: Used to measure how many grams of calcium and other minerals are present in a segment of bone. Generally this test is conducted on the spine, hip and forearm. This test is used in diagnosing osteoporosis and osteopenia.