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Osteoporosis - How Can It Be Detected?

Written and reviewed by
MS - Orthopaedics, Fellow In arthroscopy
Orthopedic Doctor, Ahmedabad  •  15years experience
Osteoporosis - How Can It Be Detected?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become fragile, hence increasing one’s susceptibility to fracture. The term means “porous bone.” When closely monitored under a microscope, a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb but at the time of osteoporosis, the holes and spaces are lot larger than what they are in healthy bones. Bones tend to lose density and contain abnormal tissue structure. Due to these reasons, bones become weak and hence are more likely to break.

How serious is the problem?

  • For older patients, breaking a bone leads to serious complication of osteoporosis. The bone breaks are most likely to occur in the spine, wrist or hip but there is possibility for other bones to break too. In addition to the pain which a patient suffers because of the problem, it also causes people to lose height.
  • Height loss happens primarily because of the fact that osteoporosis affects vertebrae or the bones of the spine, which leads to a stooped posture. This problem can make a person immobile to some extent, hence make him or her feel isolated and depressed.
  • Close to 20% of aged people, who break a hip, expire within one year either through developing complications related to the broken bone or out of surgery to repair the damage. A long-term nursing home care is advised for coming out of the after-effects completely.

Ways to detect the beginning of osteoporosis

At an early stage, this problem of osteoporosis doesn’t cause any symptoms or give out any warning signal. In majority of the cases, people suffering from osteoporosis will not be aware of the fact that they are going through the condition till they have a fracture. In case, if symptoms do tend to appear, some of the initial ones might include:

  • Grip strength becoming weak
  • Nails are turning out to be brittle and thus easily breaking off
  • Recession of gums.

Causes Of Osteoporosis

Let’s take a look at some of the causes due to which people might suffer from osteoporosis:

  • Age: The most pertinent cause of osteoporosis is age. Throughout the lifetime, our bodies break down old bones and grow new ones but when someone is in his or her 30s, then the body starts to break up faster than usual and hence replacement of bones takes time.
  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions like hyperthyroidism can also be one of the causes of Osteoporosis. Medications like long-term oral or injected corticosteroids such as prednisone or cortisone can also result in people developing joint problem in the form of osteoporosis.
  • Menopause: One of the primary reasons behind osteoporosis among women, aged around 45 to 55 years, is menopause. As hormonal change is associated with this, menopause can lead women to lose bones quickly. TreatmentThere is no cure for osteoporosis. Doctors can prescribe patients to change their lifestyle by increasing their intake of calcium and Vitamin D and do exercises regularly to stay fit. Abiding by doctor’s advice, these would ensure slow breakdown of bones.
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