Osteoporosis is a grave condition involving the thinning of bones, often starting off furtively and if adept measures are not taken, it can lead to excruciating pain accompanied by fractures and varying forms of disability. Risk factors that cause osteoporosis comprise of increasing age, smoking, drinking, being woman, lower bone mass, decreased levels of sex hormones caused during menopause and due to intake of some medicines.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Through the growth spurts in infant and teenager years, the rate of bone development is quicker than existent bone being absorbed by the body, a process which reverses subsequent to crossing the age of thirty. One is at greater risk at getting osteoporosis, if the idyllic bone mineral density or bone thickness is not attained during infant and teen years.
Decrease in bone thickness accelerates in women close to menopause, when there is depleted production of the estrogen hormone that plays a crucial role in guarding against bone thinning. Likewise, in elderly men over the age of 65 also are faced with dipping male hormone or testosterone levels that also leads to weakening of bones.
Inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D lead to weakening of bones. In addition, a predisposition for lesser bone mass may be genetic.
Many are caught unawares by osteoporosis till a fracture occurs. Though there are symptoms like backache, slow decrease in height with associated crouched posture and spinal, hip or wrist fractures.
Exams & Tests:
With nearly 80% of bone mineral density is decided by genetics, the 20% is dependent on the lifestyle. The general osteoporosis tests include the DEXA or DXA meaning dual X-ray absorptometry that computes the individual’s complete body bone mass or individual parts like spine or hip to assist in determining the risk of fracture.
Other tests include ultrasound and quantitative computed tomography or QCT with varying levels of bone mass count and costing in accordance to the detecting procedure followed.
One might be instructed by the doctor to undertake a urine or blood test to gauge the bone metabolism that offer hints to the development of the disease.
- The proper intake of osteoporosis drugs like the daily infusion of Forteo-an innate form of parathyroid hormone taken up to two years; the once a week intake of Actonel and Fosamax; once a month intake of Boniva; once a year intravenous Reclast injection or the relatively expensive nasal spray Calcitonin. Though, Forteo and Calcitonin has reported side effects like nausea, skin rashes, leg cramping or dizziness.
- Though the estrogen or the combo (estrogen and progestin) hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women was earlier recommended for bone preservation and averting fractures, a shocking revelation in 2002 pointed to the raised risk for heart ailment and breast cancer. Due to its risks overshadowing the benefits it is not ideally recommended, though those women who followed the hormone replacement therapy earlier and then halted it, displayed bone thinning once again as seen during menopause.
- Evista with estrogen similar actions is also an osteoporosis drug but unravelling of its potential risks of breast and uterine cancers, blood clots and increases hot flashes have been proven.
One needs to consult the doctor subsequent to developing a backache or abrupt and excruciating pain in the back that could be indicators of a spinal compression fracture caused due to osteoporosis. When dental X-rays show bone loss in the jaw area that could also point to osteoporosis.
- Having a healthy diet rich in calcium like low-fat milk products, vegetables, tofu, soy milk or products. Men between 25-65 years need about 1,000mg of calcium per day, and 1,500mg calcium for over 65 years. Skimmed milk has been known to provide similar amounts of calcium as whole milk.
- Regular intake of calcium along with Vitamin D supplements (400-800 IU) that assist in calcium absorption along with daily exercise routine involving weight-bearing ones like walking, jogging, weight lifting, stair climbing, aerobics will assist in maintaining optimal bone health and avert risk of fractures.
- Exposure to sun is the idyllic source of Vitamin D. Children more than two months and growing should be given regular calcium or Vitamin D supplements if daily diet is not adequate enough.
- Desist from smoking and not drinking more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day in women. Crossing the limit heightens the risk of getting osteoporosis.
- Avoiding excess caffeine, phosphorus rich foods like red meat, aerated drinks that sop up the calcium.
- About 1,000mg of calcium per day is recommended for women that should be between 1200-1500mg per day for expectant or feeding mothers. Post-menopausal women who do not take hormone replacement therapy must get 1,500mg/day.
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