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Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones characterized by very low bone mass and density. The name ‘osteoporosis’ comes from the Latin for ‘porous bones’. Such ‘porous bones’ are fragile and have an increased risk of fractures.

Causes

Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption. The body may fail to form enough new bone, or too much old bone may be reabsorbed, or both. The risk factors are:
- Over 45 years of females due to hormonal deficiency after menopause.
- Women who have undergone surgical hysterectomy (removal of the womb) before the age of 45 years.
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Cigarette smoking and eating disorders
- Alcohol misuse
- Deficient calcium intake
- Deficiency of Vitamin D

Symptoms

Osteoporosis is a silent and progressive disease. There are no characteristic symptoms in the early stages. Once the bones have lost a significant mass, a ‘fragility fracture’ can occur anytime. Such fracture often occurs after minor injuries such as a fall or slipped footstep in the bathroom. Fractures of the wrist, hip, spine, pelvis and upper arm are most common in osteoporosis. These fractures are very painful and can make the patient bed ridden. Other less common symptoms include:
- Back pain
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture

Prevention

The treatment for osteoporosis focuses on relief f symptoms and slowing the progression of disease, there is no cure per se. Hence, it is best advisable to keep your bones healthy and strong with a healthy lifestyle that gives preventive benefits.
- Take a calcium rich diet, especially around menopause (for women).
- Engage in 20 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Prevent falls and minor injuries in old age.
- Soak in Vitamin D in the sun for healthy bones and teeth.
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