Osteoporosis is a bone disease which occurs when you lose too much bone make too little bone or both. Bones become so weak that even bending over and coughing can cause a fracture. Fractures related to osteoporosis are commonly seen in hip, wrist or spine. Osteoporosis occurs when the development of new bone doesn't keep up with the removal of old bone.
Osteoporosis affects both men and women and of all races. But the disease is particularly seen in Asian women who are older and past menopause.
Factors responsible for osteoporosis
Bones are in a regular condition of renewal, old bone is broken down and new one is made. When you're young, your body develops new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. Most individuals attain bone mass by their early 20s. As people grow old, bone mass is lost faster than it's created.
The likeliness to developing osteoporosis depends partially on the amount of bone mass attained in youth. The higher your peak bone mass, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
Initially, there are no signs of bone loss. But once the bones become extremely weak, the symptoms appear:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
Treatment for osteoporosis depends on the bone density test, i.e. an estimate of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years. If the risk is low, the treatment will focus on lifestyle, safety and modifying risk factors for bone loss.
Men and women both are at increased risk of fracture. The most widely accepted osteoporosis medications include:
If the medicine is taken properly, the side effects such as nausea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and the risk of an inflamed esophagus or esophageal ulcers
are less likely to occur. Hormone-related therapy
When estrogen medication is started soon after menopause, it can help maintain bone density. However, estrogen therapy can increase a woman's risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer
, breast cancer
and possibly heart disease
. Therefore, estrogen is typically used when menopausal symptoms also require treatment.
In men, osteoporosis may occur due to age-related decline in testosterone levels
. Testosterone replacement therapy is the solution but osteoporosis medications have shown better results.
Other osteoporosis medications include Denosumab (Prolia) and Teriparatide (Forteo). These medications are prescribed by the doctor when the more common treatments for osteoporosis don't work well enough.
Exercise, eating healthy diet
and regular bone density check-ups
can prevent osteoporosis.