What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. As the bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. The loss of bone occurs “silently” and progressively.
What are the Symptoms and Risks factors for (OP)?
Because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate that a person is developing osteoporosis. This is one reason why osteoporosis is often referred to as the “silent epidemic”.
People with the following risk factors are at increased risk for OP:
- Thin, small-boned frame.
- Broken bones, stooped posture in older family members.
- Early estrogen deficiency in women who experience menopause before age 45.
- Advanced age in both men and women.
- Diet low in calcium and vitamin D.
- Cigarette smoking.
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Prolonged use of glucocorticosteroids.
- Excessive thyroid hormone.
- Prolong use of some anti-seizure medications such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, primidone, phenobarbital, and valproate).
Why it’s important to make an early diagnosis?
As osteoporosis has no obvious symptoms other than a fracture when the bone is already significantly weakened, it is important to go to your doctor if any of the risk factors apply to you. By making positive lifestyle changes and following appropriate treatment strategies in consultation with a doctor this will prevent OP.
How you can prevent OP?
Fortunately, preventive treatments are available that can help to maintain or increase bone density. The most important treatments for preventing osteoporosis include diet, exercise, and stopping smoking.
The nutritional and lifestyle criteria to prevent excessive bone loss would include adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, and regular, weight-bearing exercise.
Experts recommend that premenopausal women and men consume at least 1000 mg of calcium per day; this includes calcium in foods and drinks plus any calcium supplements. In addition, experts recommend that most people consume 800-1000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day.
Exercise helps rebuild bone and strengthens muscles. Walking, low-impact aerobics and stationary cycling are all good forms of exercise.Your doctor or physical therapist will help you find the exercise that meets your needs best.
Taking measures to prevent falls can decrease the risk of fractures. Such measures may include the following: remove loose rugs and electrical cords or any other loose items in your home that could lead to tripping, slipping, and falling. In addition, avoid walking on wet or polished floors will reduce your risk of falls.
What are the treatment options for OP?
There are number of medications are available to help slow bone loss and maintain bone mass, including:
This group of drugs can inhibit bone breakdown, preserve bone mass, and even increase bone density in your spine and hip. Examples of these medications include alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel) and zoledronic acid (Reclast).
A hormone produced by your thyroid gland, calcitonin reduces bone resorption and may slow bone loss. It may also prevent spine fractures, and may even provide some pain relief from compression fractures. It’s usually administered as a nasal spray and may cause nasal irritation in some people who use it, but it’s also available as an injection.
- Raloxifene (Evista)
This medication mimics estrogen’s beneficial effects on bone density in postmenopausal women, without some of the risks associated with estrogen, such as increased risk of uterine cancer and, possibly, breast cancer.
- Teriparatide (Forteo)
This drug, an analog of parathyroid hormone, treats osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and men who are at high risk of fractures. It works by stimulating new bone growth. Teriparatide is given once a day by injection under the skin on the thigh or abdomen.
- Hormone therapy
Estrogen can help maintain bone density. However, the use of hormone therapy can increase your risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer, breast cancer and possibly heart disease. Because of concerns about its safety and because other treatments are available, hormone therapy is generally not a first-choice treatment anymore.
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