Osteoporosis is a progressive disease of the bones. The bones become weak, fragile and brittle due to a reduction in the Bone Mineral Density (BMD). The bones in the body being brittle can easily break and sometimes even when you overexert. Thus fracture of bones is common in Osteoporosis.
This condition affects more women than men. Normal bones in humans are made of calcium, protein and collagen. As we age, the levels of collagen and calcium in women and testosterone level in men fall.
Calcium reserves in the female body are reduced naturally. After menopause the level of Estrogens also falls in women leading to fragility in bones. All these deficiencies lead to breaking of bones and fractures which characterize the condition of Osteoporosis.
Causes of Osteoporosis include:
The female gender
Thin and small body structure
Personal history of fractures
Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption
Diet low in calcium and low in nutrition and deficiency of vitamin D
Lack of exercises and poor general health
The risk factors are:
In women - early menopause and Anorexia nervosa
In men, low level of testosterone
And other conditions like thyroid gland malfunction
The signs and symptoms include:
An Orthopaedic is the expert who should be consulted. The most common procedure is an X-RAY. The image will reveal thinner bones than normal. The other method of diagnosis is by the Bone Density Test.
The usual signs and symptoms along with family history and other medications and any other condition, will help determine the condition of Osteoporosis.
Unfortunately Osteoporosis cannot be cured completely. The symptoms can be treated. Preventive strategies are as important as treatment, which include changes in lifestyle like quitting of alcohol and smoking. A well balanced diet and plenty of sunshine is also necessary.
Preventive steps in the house include ample free space and support, a firm bed, prevent falls, good posture, effective pain management and a sympathetic family member or friend or a caregiver.
Since Osteoporosis is about fractures and inability of the bones to redevelop fast. Moreover it affects elderly people; support and care giving helps a lot in managing the symptoms and leading a quality life.
Sharing your experiences with others who have similar condition, and being part of a support group, helps in coping better and acts as stress reliever.
Actress Sally Field, 60years has been diagnosed with Osteoporosis in 2006, and is famous for playing the roles of a strong woman is being treated for the symptoms and is now a spokesperson for Osteoporosis Awareness Campaign.