Osteoporosis means “Porous bones “ is a disease in which bone mass and bone strength are reduced. As we get older, we are no longer able to replace bone tissue as quickly as we lose it.
Osteoporosis causes reduction or loss of normal bone mineral density leading to so called Fragility fractures. It makes the bones abnormally porous and increases the risk of fractures even with minor falls and injury which would normally in a healthy person will not cause fracture.
It affects more than half of the people above 55 years of age particularly women. Peak bone mass in our life is in early thirties. After third decade in life bone mineral density ( BMD) declines in both sexes.
Loss of BMD is three times faster in women after menopause. In Men after 50 there is gradual decline in BMD particularly at hips but not in spine.
- Genetic factors
- Long term bed rest
- Physical exercises
- Diseases like Thyroid disorders
Prevention: As the loss is gradual and painless, there are no symptoms until first fracture occurs. Most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are Wrist, Spine and Hip fractures.Spine fracture can cause loss of height and back pain.
Hip fracture can result in loss of independent living and usually requires an operation.
However osteoporosis is preventable. A combination of life style changes and medical treatment with modern drugs can prevent fractures.
Therefore if you are over 50 years or have any of the risk factors or had a fracture of wrist , spine or hip than seek advice from experts to assess your bone health.
Dowager’s hump: Spinal hump with bent-over posture or stooped posture in a elderly woman called Dowager’s hump. It is due to osteoporotic changes in Thoracic spine. (Dowager means dignified elderly woman).
Do consult your doctor if you are:
- Post menopausal and constant back or neck pain.
- Pain in your muscles and bones that limits your ability to do your normal things which you used to do.
- Have sustained injury or suspect fracture of spine hip or wrist.
DIAGNOSIS is by plain x rays and more specifically by DEXA scan ( bone densitometry ) which we have in our hospital.
Taking calcium supplement before menopause in normal women does not prevent osteoporosis.
Treatment of Osteoporosis:
- Healthy balanced diet
- Adequate high impact physical exercise and walk.
- Prevention of falls and slips
- Drugs: Bisphosphonates , Calcium supplement, Calcitonin , Avoid steroid intake
- Exposure to Sun rays
- Avoid alcohol and smoking