Either due to several reasons, your body starts making too little bone or you start losing bone. This results in a condition known as osteoporosis. Thus, Osteoporosis is a bone disease.
Due to this disease, the bones become fragile, weak and can break even due to minor fall. In highly severe cases, the simple actions like sneezing forcefully or mere bumping into the furniture can lead to fracture or breakage of bone.
Identifying of osteoporosis
The complete meaning of osteoporosis is porous bone. A healthy bone looks like a honeycomb when observed under the microscope.
However, if you are suffering from osteoporosis the spaces and the holes within the honeycomb seem quite large then you can possibly see in a healthy bone. This shows that your bone has lost mass or density and the structure has become abnormal.
The lesser the density of the bones, the weaker they become thereby increasing the chances of bone breakage and fracture and the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Types of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is of different types and occurs in both men and women. However, certain races especially white women are more at risk of acquiring this disease. What is more concerning is that lately the occurrence of juvenile osteoporosis has increased enormously.
It is difficult to define this condition in children. The best way to detect is to carry out bone density scanning so that the right detection is possible. Although a clear diagnosis is still not possible through this scanning as in adults, proof of a fragile skeleton leads to a final diagnosis of juvenile osteoporosis. The two kinds of juvenile osteoporosis are:
Secondary osteoporosis is the most common type of juvenile osteoporosis and is usually caused because of the certain medical conditions. The diseases that can cause this condition include:
- Juvenile arthritis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Celiac disease
- Homocystinuria (a genetic metabolic disorder)
- Osteogenesis imperfect ("brittle bone disease")
- Cushing's syndrome
- Malabsorption syndromes
- Kidney disease
- Anorexia nervosa
Osteoporosis Facts: Men and Women
- Both men and women tend to suffer from osteoporosis, however, the number of women suffering from this disease is comparatively more.
- This is because during their fifties women experience more bone loss than men do
- Hence, by the time both are in their sixties both have lost the bone at the same rate, the bone loss is much more in women.
Risk of Osteoporosis in Women
- The risk of osteoporosis in women increases after menopause.
- The symptoms of osteoporosis especially more in case of Asian and white women and to women who have small and thin frames.
- Even teenage girls with a thin frame and engaged in excessive exercise and not having regular menses are at risk of acquiring osteoporosis and such a condition is known as amenorrhea.
- This is because irregular menses or complete loss of menstrual periods is due to decrease in the level of estrogen, which can ultimately lead to osteoporosis.
- Low calcium diet devoid of bone-boosting nutrients can also lead to osteoporosis in women especially in girls who restrict eating for losing weight.
- Athletes and gymnasts who try to keep up low body weight for performing and scoring better in the tournaments are also at risk of acquiring this disease.
Note: Around 30 percent of ballet dancers have been found to suffer from stress fractures because of low body weight and eating disorders.
Risk of Osteoporosis in men
- Men although are less at risk of acquiring osteoporosis than women, they still develop this condition.
- Men are at more risk of developing this condition after the age of 70, 5 to 10 years later than in women.
- Even though there is not a steady drop in hormone in men just like in women after the menopause, there is much reduction of testosterone, as men get older.
- Like estrogen in women, testosterone offers protection to the bones in the male body.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The onset of osteoporosis is silent and the symptoms of osteoporosis are almost unnoticeable unless you have to face a fracture. Only when the disease aggravates to an advanced stage, you feel the pain or start noticing common symptoms such as loss of height. This is the time when you should immediately contact your doctor. Some of the common symptoms include:
Fracture: More often repeated fractures could be a sign of fragile bones caused because of severe osteoporosis. These fractures can occur even due to minor fall or step off from a curb or even due to a strong cough or sneezing.
Neck or Back Pain: Compression fractures in the spine can be due to osteoporosis. The patient has to bear excruciating pain in this condition as the collapsed vertebrae keep on pinching the nerves and hence the pain keeps out radiating from the spinal cord. The symptoms of the pain can range anywhere from minor to severe pain
Losing Height: The patient can lose his height due to spinal compression fractures, which is one of the most noticeable and common of all the symptoms of osteoporosis.
Due to the compression in the vertebrae, the upper back may also curve slightly giving a stopped appearance. This condition is termed as kyphosis or dowagers hump. This condition leads to severe pain in the neck and back and even affects breathing as extra pressure is put on the airway.
Also Read: Top 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Oats
Symptoms of Emergency Osteoporosis
symptoms of osteoporosis in an emergency can cause extreme discomfort and pain and warrant an emergency room trip. If you are suffering from extreme pain, particularly in the wrist, hip, neck, or back you must contact your caregiver immediately for an evaluation of your bones and possible treatment.
What are the Consequences of Osteoporosis?
- Bone fractures caused due to osteoporosis are highly painful and the patient loses workdays and quality of life which can lead to disability.
- Around 30 percent of the patients suffering from this disease suffer from a hip fracture that requires long-term care and nursing.
- In elderly patients, there are chances of development of pneumonia and blood clots in the veins of the lower legs
- 20 percent of women suffering from hip fractures due to osteoporosis die directly or indirectly due to this condition.
- Patients suffering from spine fractures as a result of osteoporosis are always at the risk of suffering similar fractures again in the future.
- Around 20 percent of the postmenopausal women with vertebral fractures experienced earlier are at the risk of suffering from a bone fracture in the coming years.
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