Are you suffering from Osteoporosis? Do you know the Risk Factors of Osteoporosis? Well, you are at right place to the causes and other risk factors of osteoporosis. Mostly Osteoporosis is caused due to unhealthy diets, stressed-out existence, and sedentary lifestyles. Here are some risk factors for osteoporosis:
- Race and Gender (Asian descent, women)
- Genetics and Age (family history, 50 years and above)
- Calcium deficiency
- Physical inactivity
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Excess alcohol
- Medications such as prednisone or heparin
Early Stages of Osteoporosis
Although frequent fractures and breakage of bones are considered to be, the signs of osteoporosis there are few other indications that can help diagnose the osteoporosis condition at an early stage. Such symptoms include:
- High serum calcium levels or alkaline phosphate levels in blood report
- Deficiency of vitamin D
- Aches in muscles and joints
- Weight loss
- Resting pulse more than 80
- Needing help of arms to get up from the chair
- Increase in stopping
- Resting pulse more than 80 beats/minute
- BMD results are -2.5 or below
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or couple of symptoms together, you must consult your caregiver and decide an exact model of treatment.
Early Fracture Fragility Symptoms
A fragility fracture is quite painful and causes immediate swelling after the impact or fall. Sometimes the pain starts from the back resulting in a vertebral fracture. This pain can last for maximum six weeks as your bones continue to heal.
Screening for Osteoporosis
It is very much important to know when the right time to screen for bone loss is. This helps in the early treatment and saves further consequences. According to a study, only 12 percent of the people having osteoporosis get their bone mineral density or BMD screening done. Lack of awareness among the older and middle-aged women increases their risk factors of Osteoporosis. The best screening for the BMD is DEXA or DXA, which is a painless scanning procedure that uses low radiation levels to measure the bone density of spine, hips and other body areas.
When is the Right Time for Screening?
Following people are at great risk of acquiring osteoporosis. They include:
- Women above the age of 65 years
- Postmenopausal women who earlier had a fracture
- Women with more than one of the risk factors such as body weight and family history and so on.
- Caucasian post menopause women
Diagnosis of osteoporosis is carried out in steps. These are:
- Medical history: In this, your family history related to osteoporosis as well as your medical history of fractures and neck and back pain is studied.
- Physical Examination: This is carried out to check whether you have experienced some height loss. For this, he will examine the spine and check your height without shoes.
- Bone Density Test: This is the test prescribed for diagnosing the osteoporosis condition. It helps to check your bone density and the risks of osteoporosis and breaking of bones. According to NOF, BMD is the best carried out using DXA machine.
- FRAX Score: This is a fracture risk assessment tool that uses your bone density information to evaluate a 10-year risk estimate for fracture. The tool score lets you know about your chances of breaking hipbones or combined major bones in the coming 10 years. These major bones are forearm, shoulder, spine, and hip. This test is useful for people who are at greater risk of osteoporosis.
- Laboratory Tests: Common tests for checking onset of osteoporosis and bone health include urine and blood tests, thyroid function tests, blood calcium levels, 24-hour urine calcium measurement, testosterone levels in men, parathyroid hormone levels, 25-hydroxyvitamin D test and biochemical marker tests including CTX and NTX.
- Other Tests: Other tests to estimate how fast you are losing the bone density include X-rays, nuclear bone scans, vertebral fracture assessments or VFAs, MRIs or CT Scans. These tests are mostly prescribed if bone lesions or cancer of bones is suspected.
Treatments for Osteoporosis
Depending on the severity of the disease, age of the patient and other related factors such as medical and family history and so on, caregivers suggest different treatments to the patients. Here are some such treatments:
1.Hormone Replacement Therapy: Also popularly known as HRT, in this therapy, synthetic hormones are introduced to replace the estrogen so that the loss of bone is reduced. Such therapy is usually recommended to women in their menopause or post-menopause phase as after the fifties their bodies lose the ability to produce estrogen in the required amount.
Note: This treatment comes with several pros and cons and hence it should be only initiated on the recommendation of a reputed caregiver. Moreover, you should not continue the therapy beyond the prescribed duration.
2.Bisphosphonates: This is a particular type of medicine group that helps in slowing down the rate at which the bones dissolve thereby helping the bones to get back their strength in due time. These too can cause side effects and must be taken and continued only on prescription.
Note: Medicines of this group come with special instructions and should be taken accordingly as they can cause ulceration and irritation of the esophagus (food pipe).
3.Strontium Ranelate: This medication is specially prescribed to men and women in their postmenopausal phase or to women patients who due to certain complications cannot be prescribed bisphosphonates. It works in two ways by increasing the bone formation process and also reducing the loss of bone thereby reducing the chances of hip and spinal fractures.
Note: Strontium Ranelate has been known to cause blood clots in veins and also to increase the chances of cardiac disorders such as heart attack and hence is prescribed only to women with high risk of getting fractures. It should be strictly avoided in people with uncontrolled hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
4.Raloxifene: It is prescribed to treat and to prevent the risk of osteoporosis in women who are in postmenopausal phase. The medicine stimulates the growth of the bones just like the estrogen but can cause an anti-estrogen effect on the breast tissue and the uterus of a woman.
Note: Since this drug is known to develop blood clots within the veins it should not be taken by women having deep vein thrombosis or DVT history or by women who have been affected by pulmonary embolism or any other thrombosis.
Specialized Treatments for Osteoporosis
Some of the specialized treatments for treating and preventing osteoporosis or overcoming the risk factors of Osteoporosis include:
- This treatment is recommended as a secondary prevention treatment for osteoporotic fragility fractures and is usually prescribed to women in their postmenopausal phase that cannot be prescribed bisphosphonates.
- It is a type of monoclonal antibody treatment given in the form of a small injection after every four weeks under the skin.
- Calcitonin or Miacalcic is a type of hormone that is directly involved in the bone-turnover regulation process.
- This medicine is injected or given in the form of a nasal spray to treat postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis especially when the treatments of raloxifene, strontium or bisphosphonates is found unsuitable.
- It should be taken only on prescription as it can cause allergic reactions and other potential side effects.
- Calcitriol or Rocaltrol is a type of vitamin-like compound and is advised in osteoporosis cases caused due to excessive use of steroid drugs.
- The drug has been found to reduce the vertebral fractures risk in the spine.
- This is a natural man-made hormone known as parathyroid hormone and is utilized normally to control the levels of calcium in the bone metabolism and body.
- It is effectively used to control increased fracture risk in men and osteoporosis risk factors in postmenopausal women.
- It is given daily in the form of a shot under the skin by using a special injection pain to increase the speed of bone formation process Falls Assessment, Hip Protectors
- These aids are recommended in patients who have a poor balance or have a mobility problem.
Preventing and Taking Care of Osteoporosis
Here are a few steps that you can take to improve your bone health and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis:
Lifestyle and Exercise
Excessive running can lead to bone loss and hence if you are a runner with low BMI then your chances of acquiring osteoporosis risks factors is much more.
- To top it all, if you have low weight and thin frame the risk increases manifold.
- Such people should try out osteoporosis preventing exercises such as dancing, aerobics, walking or weight- bearing on a daily basis.
- Alcohol abuse and smoking have a negative effect on the health of the bones and hence to increase their life you must quite both these habits.
Calcium Rich Diet
- Healthy bones can be retained and acquired by taking a good calcium intake.
- It has been found out that less intake of calcium during the childhood increases the risk of acquiring osteoporosis in adulthood.
- For an adult, the daily recommended calcium intake is about 800mg.
- You can use dairy products such as milk of cow, yogurt to boost up your calcium intake.
- No need to switch over to high-fat dairy products to cover up the calcium need as the low-fat dairy products contain calcium in almost the same amount.
- Fish such as sardines, mackerel, pilchards and salmon along with tofu and other calcium-fortified foods are a good source of calcium.
- If you are, a vegan then you should increase your source of other non-dairy calcium providing food products such as almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pulses, sesame seeds, dried dates, figs and apricots, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, curly kale, and watercress.
Taking Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements
- You can take two most important supplements-vitamin D and calcium for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fracture.
- In case, you think that your regular calcium or vitamin D intake is lower than required you can opt to take them in supplement form to protect your vertebrae and other major bones
- You can buy these supplements on prescription by your caregiver who will prescribe the exact dose of the supplement as required by your body.
- Growing evidence in the past few years have suggested that most of the people belonging to all the ages are at higher risk of being vitamin D deficient
- Hence, just like calcium, vitamin D supplements can also be bought over the counter.
Statistics About Osteoporosis Spreading Over India?
- According to a recent survey conducted by WHO around 300 million of Indians are affected by risk factors of osteoporosis. It has been observed that this disease equally affects both men and women in India and it can affect the Indians at a younger age as compared to the Western counterparts.
- The recently published data clearly demonstrates the large-scale vitamin D deficiency among the Indians of all ages and both the sexes.
- This is especially true in urban areas where skin pigmentation, poor exposure to sunlight and vitamin-D deficient diet can lead to the deficiency.
- Moreover, Indians also have much lower BMD compared to the Western citizens
- The World Health Organization has revealed that one of every three Indian women suffer from this disease making India the worst osteoporosis affected countries in the world.
- The Arthritis Foundation of India has revealed that there has been an estimated 200 % rise in the risk factors of osteoporosis cases in the past 10 years in Asia.
- It is estimated that in the coming decade around 50 percent of the Indians will be affected by osteoporosis risk factors.
Since vitamin D deficiency is the major reason behind the low bone density and poor bone health among Indians, it is recommended that they should eat proper vitamin D and calcium-rich diet, exercise regularly and get adequate sunlight exposure. By following, these easy steps the peak bone mass of Indian population can be increased.
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