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Osteopenia is a medical condition that gradually causes thinning of bone mass. While the thinning mass is not considered as severe, the real danger looms when osteopenia aggravates to osteoporosis, resulting in a bone fracture. Osteopenia is mostly witnessed in people above the age of 50. The difference between the diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis lies in the measure of bone density.
Osteoporosis, on the other hand, is the loss of bone mass due to the deficiency of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and other minerals and vitamins. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones, height loss, acute pain and humpback. It is estimated that over 54 million people in the US suffer from osteoporosis.
Bone mineral density (BMD):
The calcium deposit in the bone is measured by the bone mineral density (BMD) test. This test rightly estimates the chances of bone fracture in a person. Furthermore, it helps a doctor to distinguish between osteopenia and osteoporosis. Being non-invasive in nature, this test can be performed anytime on areas such as hip, shin bone, spine etc. BMD can either be measured by plain radiographs or DEXA. The latter is a form of X-ray that has lesser exposure to radiation. Post the test, a score is given based on the calcium availability of the bones.
How is a BMD comprehended?
Every BMD result is evaluated in the form of T-score. The T-score is derived by comparing the result of the BMD with a normal person in the 30’s having the same race and sex. The difference of score between a healthy individual and a patient affected with osteoporosis or osteopenia is referred to as Standard Deviation. A patient with a T-score in the range of (-1SD) to (-2.5SD) is considered a prime candidate for osteopenia. A patient having a T-score lesser than -2.5SD is diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Risk factor for osteopenia or osteoporosis:
While not everyone runs the risk of getting either osteopenia or osteoporosis, there are certain risk factors attached to it:
- Gender: Women run a higher risk of getting affected with osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- Race: Women who belong from the Caucasian or Asian origin run a higher risk of getting these diseases.
- Age: Most people tend to get these diseases above the age of 50. Humans have a tendency of losing close to 0.5 percent of bone every year after a certain age.
- Family history: A person with a family history of osteopenia or osteoporosis has more than 50% chance of getting either osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle: Poor diet, excessive smoking, alcohol, lack of exercising etc. goes a long way in contributing towards these diseases.
Rotator cuff is the name given to four muscles and their tendons, which keep your arms in your shoulder sockets, allowing you to lift your arms and do day-to-day stuff like combing your hair, cutting vegetables etc.
The shoulder joint is a very important joint of the body and this is why any tear that happens in the rotator cuff can be devastating.
Tears can happen in rotator cuff due to a number of factors like injury and degeneration due to age. Tears that happen due to an injury to the shoulder are called acute. Degenerative tears are tears that happen due to degeneration of the tendon over time.
Common causes of degeneration are lack of proper blood circulation, which impedes the rotator cuff’s ability to repair itself. Repetitive stress is another cause where we stress the tendon by repeating the same shoulder motions again and again while playing games like tennis, cricket etc. and doing jobs that require us to extend our arms upwards a lot. Lifting heavy objects can also lead to tears.
Chronic shoulder and arm pain are good reasons for you to see your doctor. If you suffer from pain in your shoulder at rest, while sleeping on the affected shoulder or pain while lifting and lowering your arm, then there is no time to wait.
The doctor will do a physical examination by moving your arm in different directions. He may follow it up with X-rays and MRI to check how big the tear is in your rotator cuff.
Once confirmed that you indeed have a rotator cuff tear, your doctor will start the treatment. The goal of any treatment is to reduce pain and make your shoulder joint work properly again.
Nonsurgical treatments include rest, using of a sling to protect the shoulder and modifying your daily activities. This means you may not be able to do activities that cause shoulder pain. Your doctor can also prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. Strengthening and physical therapy bring up the rear of this type of treatment.
What you must remember is that nonsurgical treatment relieves pain and improves function in the shoulder, but does not improve shoulder strength. The size of your tear may also increase over time.
Surgery, which attaches the rotator cuff to your bone, is done if you suffer from continuous pain and symptoms over a year or so. If you have a large tear, conservative treatments will not work and surgery will have to be resorted to.
If you have been suffering from chronic shoulder or arm pain, waiting and watching is definitely not an option. You must visit an orthopedic surgeon at the earliest. Remember, if treatment is not started soon enough, your rotator cuff tear will get larger and will require only surgery. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
As you age, the cartilage cushioning your joints starts wearing down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This causes osteoarthritis, which is a type of degenerative disease caused. The rubbing of the bones causes inflammation of the joints. The joints of the arms and legs along with the lower back are most commonly affected by this condition.
Here are some common symptoms, which indicate that you are suffering from osteoarthritis:
1. Pain and tenderness: An aching back, knees, neck and hip with severe pain are some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis. The pain caused during the early stage of arthritis is classified into tenderness and pain. A sharper pain may be felt while moving the affected joint in a certain way. Tenderness is the discomfort experienced when the joint is pressed along with visible swelling in the affected area.
2. Joint stiffness: Joint stiffness is another early symptom of osteoarthritis. It refers to the wooden feeling, which makes a person feel slow and sluggish. The urge to rest or go to bed should be resisted. Warming up the joints with gentle exercise or moving around cause relief. It also helps in reducing the stiffness and you can continue your regular activities with more ease.
3. Abnormal sensations: When the cartilage wears down, the rubbing of the bones against each other may lead to some abnormal sensations. Grating of the joints is common in people with osteoarthritis. One may feel that their joints are cracking or clicking while moving.
4. Loss of flexibility: People who are in their early stages of osteoarthritis may face difficulty with moving the areas which are affected. This joint stiffness and pain may lead to a loss of flexibility or loss of range of motion. Range of motion refers to the extent up to which one can move his joints normally. In case you are not being able to bend your knee fully or as far as you would have done it normally, you might be experiencing osteoarthritis.
Loss of flexibility occurs slowly and gradually. A person may hurt his back unusually during a football game or may experience a stiff back in the morning after waking up. This gets more intense with time. In the later stages, you may experience joint pain even while resting.
In case you experience any symptoms of osteoarthritis, you must consult a doctor immediately. The doctor will provide you with a plan aimed at managing and getting a quicker relief from the pain caused due to osteoarthritis. Several over-the-counter medicines, braces for supporting affected joints and range of motion exercises are also effective ways of managing osteoarthritis. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!