Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, decreasing its strength and resulting in fragile bones. Osteoporosis literally leads to abnormally porous bone that is compressible, like a sponge. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone and results in frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones. Osteopenia, by definition, is a condition of bone that is slightly less dense than normal bone but not to the degree of bone in osteoporosis.
Normal bone is composed of protein, collagen, and calcium, all of which give bone its strength. Bones that are affected by osteoporosis can break (fracture) with relatively minor injury that normally would not cause a bone to fracture. The fracture can be either in the form of cracking (as in a hip fracture) or collapsing (as in a compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine). The spine, hips, ribs, and wrists are common areas of bone fractures from osteoporosis although osteoporosis-related fractures can occur in almost any skeletal bone.
• What are osteoporosis causes and risk factors
The following are factors that will increase the risk of developing osteoporosis:
• Female gender
• Caucasian or Asian race
• Thin and small body frame
• Family history of osteoporosis (for example, having a mother with an osteoporotic hip fracture doubles your risk of hip fracture)
• Personal history of fracture as an adult
• Cigarette smoking
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Lack of exercise
• Diet low in calcium
• Poor nutrition and poor general health, especially associated with chronic inflammation or bowel disease
• Bone density test for diagnosis
To check for osteoporosis, your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical exam. They may also run tests of your blood and urine to check for conditions that may cause bone loss. If your doctor thinks you may have osteoporosis or that you’re at risk of developing it, they’ll likely suggest a bone density test.
This test is called bone densitometry, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). It uses X-rays to measure the density of the bones in your wrists, hips, or spine. These are the three areas most at risk of osteoporosis.
• Osteoporosis treatment
If your testing shows that you have osteoporosis, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan. Your doctor will likely prescribe medications as well as lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes can include increasing your intake of calcium and vitamin D, as well as getting appropriate exercise.
There’s no cure for osteoporosis, but proper treatment can help protect and strengthen your bones.
• Osteoporosis treatment
The most common drugs used to treat osteoporosis are called bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are used to prevent the loss of bone mass. They may be taken orally or by injection. They include:
Zoledronic acid (Reclast)
Osteoporosis is a disease that can have serious effects. It can lead to fractures, which can be painful, take a long time to heal, and lead to other complications. For instance, treatment for a hip fracture can include staying in bed for long periods, which raises your risk of blood clots, pneumonia, and other infections.