What is it?
It is a condition that makes the bones brittle and weak. Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone does not keep up with the removal of old bone. The bones become so brittle that a fall or even bending over or coughing can cause a facture. Hips, wrist and spine are the common sites.
What are the risk factors?
- Unchangeable risk factors:
- Sex: women more affected
- Age: older people more affected
- Race: Asians more affected
- Family history: increases the risk
- Body frame: smaller body frame increases the risk.
- Hormonal levels:
- Sex hormones: reduced estrogens after menopause in women is the strongest risk factor. Gradual reduction of testosterone in aging male is another risk factor
- Treatment for prostate and breast cancers which reducers the hormones are likely to accelatre the bone loss
- Thyroid problems: people with overactive thyroid are at increased risk
- Osteoporosis can also occur in individuals with overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands.
- Dietary factors:
- Low calcium intake
- Eating disorders
- GI surgery, which reduces the absorptive surface of stomach and intestine
- Medication for seizures, cancer, GI reflux and organ rejections.
- Medical conditions:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Kidney and chronic liver disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Life style choices
- Sedentary life style
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco usage
What are the symptoms?
- Back pain: due to fractured or collapsed vertebrae
- Loss of height over time
- Stooped posture
- Bones fracturing easily
Bone densitometry measures the density of the bone and the mineral properties. The risk of fracture can be calculated.
- Medicines called bisphosphonates
- Hormone replacement like estrogen in women and testosterone in men
- Life style changes like quitting smoking and alcohol
- Good protein diet
- Maintaining proper weight
- Adequate calcium intake
- Low fat dairy products
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Calcium fortified cereals and juices
- Soy proteins
- Vitamin D supplements
- Proper exercise