Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which bones become weak and brittle. These bones become so brittle that even a fall or mild stress such as bending or coughing can cause a fracture. Fractures due to osteoporosis occur mostly in the hip, spine or wrist.
Bone is a natural living tissue that constantly breaks and regenerates. Osteoporosis occurs when new bones are not formed to fill the loss of older bones. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. However, the risk of getting it increases with age. In women, the disease begins to develop a year or two before menopause. A healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises, and medications can help strengthen weak bones and prevent bone loss.
Knowing signs and symptoms at an early stage is the best way to prevent the disease. For this, an individual needs to look for the following symptoms.
Symptoms at the early stage include,
Receding gums- Gums can recede if the jaw is losing bone.
Weak grip strength- Low grip strength can occur due to low bone mineral density. It can increase the risk of falls.
Brittle and weak fingernails- Nail health can be an indication of bone health.
Symptoms at the late stage include,
Once bones have started deteriorating further, the patient can start to experience the following symptoms.
Height loss- Compression fractures in the spine can cause shorter heights.
Fracture due to fall- Fractures are the most common signs of weak bones. They can occur due to falls or even minute movements like stepping off a curb.
Neck or back pain- Compression fractures of the spine can suppress the nerves of the neck and back causing pain.
Stooped posture- Compression of the vertebrae can cause stooped or curved posture such as kyphosis.
Osteoporosis is classified into two categories.
Primary Osteoporosis- It occurs due to the natural ageing of bones. It is noticeable in women during their menopause. But, it can also occur at advanced ages.
Secondary osteoporosis- It occurs when a person already has a separate health disorder such as endocrine disease, autoimmune disorders, collagen disorders, etc. This condition affects the growth and development of new bones and decreases bone density.
The risk of getting osteoporosis increases with age. After 30 years of age, the rate of bone-building decreases. Factors that increase the risk for disease both in men and women include,
Family history- If osteoporosis is diagnosed in any family member, the person is more likely to develop the disease.
Lifestyle factors- These include
Smoking- It can decrease bone density.
Alcohol consumption- It can decrease bone formation and increase the risk of falling.
Diet- A diet low on calcium and vitamin D can cause osteoporosis.
No exercise- Slight exercises such as walking, dancing, and jogging keep bones healthy and strong. Lack of exercise can weaken bones.
Having medical conditions- Conditions like hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism can increase the risk for osteoporosis.
Certain medications- Certain medications cause bone thinning if used for a longer time.
Excessive dieting and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa can lead to osteoporosis.
To diagnose osteoporosis, doctors at CARE Hospitals recommend patients go for a bone density scan. The test aims to measure bone mineral density. It is performed using x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry. The number of x-rays absorbed by bones and tissues is measured by the DXA machine and determine bone mineral density.
The machine converts the information of bone mineral density in T and Z scores. The T score determines the number of bone tissues an individual has in comparison with younger people of the population. It also estimates the risk of fractures and the requirement of drug therapy. Similarly, the Z score indicates the number of bone tissues concerning people of a similar age group.
Further, the following procedures can help to determine fractures due to osteoporosis.
Bone X-Ray- It produces images of bones including, the wrist, arm, hand, shoulder, elbow, foot, thigh, knee, hip and spine. It allows for diagnosing fractured bones as a result of the disease.
Spine CT Scan- CT Scan of the spine is performed to determine the alignment and fractures. It is also used to measure bone mineral density and the chances of vertebral fractures.
MRI- MRI of the spine is performed to assess whether the vertebral fractures are new or old. More precisely, it evaluates the age of the fractures.
If a patient is diagnosed with osteoporosis, he is recommended certain medications and lifestyle changes. These changes can include an increase in calcium or vitamin D in the diet, regular exercise, etc.
Particularly, there is no cure for the disease, but it can only be controlled.
Osteoporosis natural treatments- Patients can also prefer natural treatment options for osteoporosis for better results. Supplements such as soy, red clove and black cohosh can help to promote bone formation. But, before taking these supplements, make sure to talk to a doctor to avoid complications.
Diet- Having a balanced diet can help strengthen bones. Osteoporosis patients must include essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D in their diet. The body needs calcium to form strong bones and requires vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Exercises- Along with diet, exercise is also important to maintain the overall health of bones, especially weight-bearing exercises. These exercises are performed when the arms or feet are fixed to the ground. For example, climbing stairs, weight training with resistance bands, dumbbells, resistance exercise machines and resistance training such as squats, pushups and leg presses. These exercises help as they pull and push muscles against bones. This action stimulates the body to make new bone cells and provide strength to bones.
At CARE Hospitals, we provide comprehensive diagnostic services and personalized treatment options for osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders. We use state-of-the-art equipment and technology to provide better results. Our well-trained medical staff will provide complete assistance and care during the treatment phase. We provide out-of-hospital support as well to clear our patients' doubts. We are available 24X7 to help people.
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