Osteoporosis: The Silent Epidemic Of Fractures


Ruler's of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, which literally means "porous bone", is a disease in which the bone mass and bone strength are reduced. If not prevented or left untreated, the loss of bone occurs "silently" and progressively. This reduces the density of bone, making them weak and easy to break, resulting in fracture.

How common is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is common, affecting one in three women and one in five men over the age of fifty; however the disease can strike at any age.

What are the signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Because bone loss is gradual and painless, often there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis occur at the hip, spine and wrist. Spinal fractures can result in serious consequences, including loss of height, intense back pain and deformity. A hip fracture often requires surgery and may result in loss of independent living.

In some cases, a stooped back and loss in height may be the only visible signs that a person has osteoporosis. Since the disease does not have obvious symptoms, doctors may recommend diagnostic testing depending on a person’s age and whether other risk factors can be identified.

What causes Osteoporosis?

Bone is a living tissue. Old bone is constantly replaced by new bone. Bone mass increases from birth, reaching a maximum strength and size (peak bone mass) in early adulthood. A person's peak bone mass is determined largely by genetic factors, but other factors such as nutrition, physical activity and disease also influence bone development. As we get older, we are no longer able to replace bone tissue as quickly as we lose it. Osteoporosis occurs when new bone formation does not match the bone loss.

What are the risk factors for Osteoporosis?

- Women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
In women the rate of bone loss increases significantly after menopause, when hormone (estrogen) production stops and bones no longer benefit from its protective effect. Men also suffer from loss of bone tissue, but the rate of loss is much slower.

  • Aging
  • A family history of osteoporosis or broken bones as adults
  • Having a thin, small-framed body
  • Lack of exercise, especially weight bearing ones, such as walking
  • Long-term bed rest
  • Low calcium and vitamin D intake or absorption
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Long term use of some medicines like steroids
  • Certain other diseases like Asthma, Thyroid illness, Arthritis. If you are more than 50 years or have any of the above risk factors, or have had a fracture at Wrist, Spine or Hip, it is highly recommended that you seek advice to assess your bone health status and take corrective measures to prevent complications.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?

The good news is that osteoporosis is a preventable and treatable condition. A combination of lifestyle changes and appropriate medical treatment can prevent fractures. Recent advances in treatment of Osteoporosis not only prevent further bone loss but can also lead to formation of New Bone.


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