Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to be brittle due to the degrading bone density. The minerals and calcium deposits from the bones are being depleted in this disease and there is a high risk of developing bone fracture. Bones become weak and there is a higher risk of bone breakage. It is most common in elderly people especially in the menopausal women in which the ovaries partially become non-functional. Bones that commonly break include the bones of spine, forearm and hip. Chronic pain and a decreased ability to carry out normal activities may occur after bone breakage. In this article, the discussion will be about the causes, symptoms and dietary treatment of osteoporosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis:
There are as such no symptoms of osteoporosis except bone fracture that may be due to the sudden falls in elderly people. The fractures occur usually in such condition in which normally people don’t develop fractures. That’s why these fractures are regarded as fragility fractures. Mostly the fractures occur in hip, wrist, rib, vertebral column.
Risk of Sudden falls: Risk of sudden falls increases in people with age due to the high rate of developing certain health issues e.g mainly due to impaired eyesight {e.g Macular degeneration (loss of central vision with age), glaucoma}, balance disorders, movement disorders, dementia, age-related loss of skeletal muscle etc. Removal of obstacles and loose carpets in the surroundings may significantly reduce falls.
Fractures are a common symptom of osteoporosis and leads to disability if is severe.
The most common osteoporotic fractures are of the wrist, spine, shoulder and hip.
Acute and chronic pain in elderly people from the osteoporotic fractures leads to disability and mortality.
The symptoms for vertebral collapse are sudden back pain and shooting pain due to the nerve root ending compression.
Multiple vertebral fractures lead to loss of height, posture loss and a chronic pain with reduction in mobility.
Fractures of the long bones significantly reduce mobility and may require surgery.
Hip fractures usually require surgery as serious risks are associated with it.
Causes of osteoporosis:
Causes of osteoporosis may include the following:
Osteoporosis may develop due to the significantly increased activity of osteoclasts (bone dissolving cells) and the decreased activity of osteoblasts (bone forming cells). Osteoclasts are assisted by the transcription factor PU.1 to degrade the bone density. Low bone mass density usually occurs when osteoclasts are degrading the bone matrix faster than the osteoblasts are reforming the bones.
The three main mechanisms contributing to the osteoporosis are:
Inadequate peak bone mass
Excessive bone resorption
Inadequate formation of new bone during bone remodeling
Hormonal factors may also be leading cause of osteoporosis by contributing towards bone resorption. For example; lack of estrogen mainly in the menopausal women increases the bone resorption and decreases the deposition of new bone that normally takes pace in weight bearing bones. The required amount of estrogen to suppress the developing osteoporosis is less than to stimulate the uterus and breast gland.
Osteoporosis usually develops in women more frequently in which there is a surgical removal of ovaries as the estrogen hormone is produced by them that promotes the calcium absorption into bones.
Calcium metabolism plays vital role in bone turn over.
Deficiency of vitamin D and calcium also leads to impaired or degraded bone deposition.
Impaired secretory function of parathyroid glands also leads to osteoporosis. When parathyroid hormone is released in high amounts it removes the abnormal amounts of calcium from the bones leaving the bones degraded and brittle and adds the calcium to the blood. In this way, the bones are demineralized and there are higher risks of developing fracture.
Diagnosis of osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by the following tests:
By conventional radiography
By measuring the bone mass density (BMD) through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Management or treatment:
Osteoporosis can be prevented or treated by the following:
Taking the supplements of vitamin D and calcium may be a little effective. Vitamin K2 is also used in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Exercise has a small benefit on the bone density of post-menopausal women. Exercise may improve pain and quality of life of people with vertebral fractures.
Fall prevention can help prevent osteoporosis complications.
Bisphosphonates are useful in decreasing the risk of future fractures in those who have already had an osteoporotic fracture. This is beneficial when taken for three to four years. Teriparatide is effective in treating post-menopausal osteoporosis.
So, in a nut shell osteoporosis if occurs, must be considered and treated as it can deprive you from healthy and bouncy life style.

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