What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis weakens the bones and increases the chance of broken bones. Osteoporosis leads to bone mineral density being reduced and can result in the sufferer developing Dowager’s hump later in life and/or a reduction in height. Osteoporosis is a very common disease and is four times more likely for women to suffer from it than it is for men.
With women, causes of osteoporosis are often by low levels of estrogen and for men it is often caused by low levels of testosterone. These low levels can lead to an increase in bone brittleness and an increased chance of bone fractures.
Osteoporosis has been referred to as an invisible or silent disease because there are very few symptoms, at least initially. This is so much so that sufferers may have osteoporosis for years, even decades before they receive a proper diagnosis.
Despite this, there are some common signs of osteoporosis to look out for, and these include:
- Loss of height
- Suffering fractures without usual causes
- Unexplainable feelings of stiff joints and physical stiffness in general
Osteoporosis is usually diagnosed by the potential sufferer undergoing one or both of the following tests:
- DEXA Scan (Dual X-Ray Absorbtiometry) – This is a type of dual x-ray that measures a person’s spine, hip or entire body bone density.
- Blood or Urine Test – A blood or urine test can also be used to see the metabolism of bone.
Treatments and Drugs:
There are several medications available for osteoporosis treatment and these include:
- Actonel, Bonvia and Fosamax are prescription drugs that can help stunt the progress of osteoporosis by inhibiting the cells that cause the bones to break and reduce.
- Reclast is a vein infused administrated drug (that can be administered once a year) that can increase bone strength and help prevent the likelihood of fractures from occurring.
- Forteo is a drug that can be self-administered by injection for up to 24 months. Forteo can stimulate new bone formation and increase bone mineral density.
Treatment for osteoporosis includes lifestyle adjustment, and particularly an increase in exercise and a healthier diet. A medical professional will likely recommend that an osteoporosis sufferer can relieve their symptoms by:
- Eating calcium rich foods
- Avoiding phosphorus rich foods
- Taking a daily calcium supplement
- Taking a daily vitamin D supplement
- Vigorous daily exercise that includes both cardio strengthening and weight lifting
There is no known way you can completely recover or be cured from osteoporosis but as illustrated above there are actions you can take to help reduce and relieve your symptoms.
There is no known way to completely prevent osteoporosis from occurring. However, the symptoms can be reduced by taking certain medications and making certain lifestyle adjustments as illustrated above.
For more information on osteoporosis see the following resources: