Your bone is a living tissue that is continuously undergoing the process of being broken and repairing. Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by brittle and weak bones. Osteoporosis affects one’s hips, spine and the wrist, thus rendering a hunched posture and a shrunk appearance resulting from the collapsed vertebra.
Factors behind osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is a condition whereby the density of the bone decreases and the body ceases to manufacture the same quantity of bone as it did previously. Although it tends to affect both females as well as males, it is most commonly seen in women. The reason for this is the decreased production of estrogen during the menopause phase. The hormone, estrogen provides protection against osteoporosis.
When someone suffers from this condition, all their bones become weak and they become highly susceptible to fractures in the event of an accident or even a slight knock.
The word osteoporosis means porous bones. Once a person crosses the age of 35 years the rate of bone renewal or rebuilding slows down. When this happens on a prolonged basis the concerned person is highly prone to develop osteoporosis.
• Those who smoke and have a poor diet are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
• Osteoporosis targets areas of the body such as the hip, wrists and spine.
• Although there is no particular outward sign of osteoporosis you are likely to develop a stoop as a result of a weak spine. This will further lead to bone pain.
Osteomalacia is a condition that is similar to osteoporosis where the bones are weakened. But what makes this condition different from osteoporosis is that in osteomalacia there is difficulty in the process of bone-building. In osteoporosis, existing bones become weak.
Reasons for Osteomalacia:
Vitamin D is helpful for the maintenance of phosphate and calcium levels which is needed in the proper formation of bones. Vitamin D can be acquired from ultraviolet rays of the sun and also from food items such as fish and dairy products.
Signs of Osteomalacia:
Signs of osteomalacia are few. The most common signs include fracturing of the bones and weakening of the muscles. A person who suffers from the condition of osteomalacia has a difficult time walking and may develop abnormal gait.
Treatment of Both Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia:
When it comes to the treating osteoporosis it is mainly focussed on preventing the onset, maintaining healthy bone density, preventing fractures and reducing pain. This treatment is done by making adjustments to your lifestyle as we daily meal plan in addition to taking medications and health supplements.
As the first line of treatment of osteomalacia, the patient will be prescribed a number of phosphate, vitamin D and calcium health supplements. Additionally, the patient will be asked to spend some time out in the sun for the absorption of sunlight.
Bones are similar to a porous framework which is filled with minerals that make it hard and strong. With age, there is gradual degradation and the mineralized portion is lost, thereby leading to thinning of the bone. The word osteoporosis literally translates to porous bones, which is due to the gradual demineralisation. In addition to the natural ageing process, there are other diseases that can accelerate the demineralization process.
Women are more prone to demineralisation, and after the age of 40, they should take extra precaution to slow down the onset of the condition. The following are some ways to improve bone health and halt osteoporosis in the long run-
Diet: Ensure that your diet has sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Though calcium is the essential mineral for bone formation, vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium, and therefore both these elements play a vital role in maintaining the quality of the bones in our body. Most people require about 1,000 mg of calcium and about 500 units of vitamin D for optimal bone health. This requirement goes up slightly in postmenopausal women.
Sun Exposure: In most people, exposure to the sun allows the body to make vitamin D, but careful sun protection prevents this from happening. Also, with age, the body’s ability to form intrinsic vitamin D also declines. The body, therefore, relies on supplements. Most dairy products are good sources of calcium. In addition, spinach, salmon, turnips, and broccoli are some calcium-rich foods. Supplements of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate can be taken if your diet is lacking in calcium. Vitamin D also should be included in the supplementation. The treatment for osteoporosis is incomplete without these two supplements.
Exercise With Weights: The constructive tension that exercise puts on the body helps in bone building, whatever the age may be, which prevents the onset of osteoporosis. Any exercise which improves muscle mass strengthens the bones, and puts stress on the bones is advisable. Since the fractured area due to osteoporosis mainly includes the spine, lower back exercises, yoga, tai chi, and abdominal exercises all work wonders. Pick any of these and do them for 30 minutes three times a week.
Quit Smoking: Continuing to smoke while taking osteoporosis medications is completely useless. Nicotine negates all the effects which defeat the purpose of taking the medication and is as good as taking no medication at all. So if you want the bone thinning to stop, stop smoking.
Alcohol Consumption: While a drink or two per week is permissible, more than this can harm the bones significantly.
Constant Health Watch: Talk to your doctor about how other routine medications (if any) can affect your bone health. Also, identify how frequently you should check your bone mineral density and stick to the schedule.
Bone health and osteoporosis can be managed with some conscious efforts.
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:
Osteoporosis in very simple terms is a condition that causes spongy bones. The bones develop pores and become fragile with increased susceptibility to fractures. In average, all our bones get weak after the age of 35 years which means that the bone mass decreases. Women after menopause are especially susceptible to this condition and also osteoporotic fractures. What are the other risk factors for osteoporosis? Knowing this is important for your bone health as it will help to prevent fractures. But before we discuss the causes of osteoporosis, it’ is important to point out that osteoporosis has no symptoms and it can only be diagnosed when you have a fracture for no reason at all, or you get a bone density test to diagnose osteoporosis.
Some of the factors that can lead to osteoporosis are:
Some other factors that can lead to it
The diagnosis of osteoporosis is simple and it is advisable that older people especially women get periodic X- rays and bone density tests to rule out this bone condition.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones of its sufferers. This is most commonly found in women, especially in those women who are close to, or going through, menopause. Hormonal changes around this period in a woman's life usually lead to various changes in her body. One of these changes includes loss of bone tissue which can leave the patient with brittle and weak bones, a condition that is also known as osteoporosis. This condition literally imbibes the word porous, meaning hollow bones. It is born from an acute deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D. The DEXA Scan or bone density test, also known as the Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Scan, is one of the most effective tests that can help you in detecting this kind of damage or thinning bones. Here's why.
1. Fractures: The DEXA Scan is an important one because it sends low energy beams to areas like your joints and tissues to show how susceptible you are to fractures. It does so by measuring the strength of the tissues as well as the bones to see how brittle they may be.
2. Other Ailments: Measuring the thinning of your bones can also point to the presence of other ailments that may have gone unnoticed or undetected, earlier. These can include kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism which happens due to overactive secretions of the said gland, as well as liver disease due to a malfunctioning liver, intestinal disease and various disorders in the intestinal tract, and a serious Vitamin D deficiency. With this scan, you can get an insight into the other parts of the body affected by the bone density, and whether or not they are functioning properly.
3. Estrogen: Simply checking the estrogen levels cannot ascertain whether or not you have osteoporosis, as a high estrogen level can be credited to a particularly heavy period cycle. It does not show the bone health the way a DEXA Scan does.
4. Easy and Standardised: This method of scanning usually happens with the help of a mounted X-ray machine type, a handheld gadget which can be extended to conduct the scan. This is an easy and standardized method that releases low levels of radiation which also makes it a healthier option.
5. Bone Density Scores: The T Scores and Z scores point towards the bone density and help in diagnosing the condition efficiently. With a systematic scoring system, it is a sure shot test for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition. The first step in treating the same is to get a detailed scan like the DEXA scan done, so as to test the extent of the bone-thinning to ensure that proper and timely treatment takes place.