Osteoporosis weakens bones, making them more susceptible to sudden and unexpected fractures. The disease often progresses without any symptoms or pain, and the person does not even realize it until the bones break. You can find more information below.
What is bone resorption?
Osteoporosis , also known as osteoporosis , causes bones to become weak and brittle. Bones are so fragile that even mild stress, such as bending over or coughing, can cause them to break. Fractures associated with it most often occur in the hip, wrist, or spine.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly broken down and renewed. Osteoporosis occurs when new bone formation cannot compensate for old bone loss. This condition can affect men and women of all races, but fair-skinned and Asian women, especially menopausal women, are at higher risk.
Things like medications, a healthy diet, and exercise to lose weight can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.
What causes osteoporosis?
The types and possible causes of osteoporosis are given below:
Causes of primary osteoporosis
Both the normal bone aging process and hereditary predisposition can contribute to primary osteoporosis. However, it cannot be explained with certainty why some people do not develop the disease while others develop osteoporosis.
Risk factors include a lifestyle with little physical activity, calcium deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, and a lack of the female sex hormone, namely estrogen.
This is why older women mainly develop osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol and nicotine consumption are considered important risk factors for men and women.
Causes of secondary osteoporosis
A number of underlying diseases can cause secondary osteoporosis. These include especially inflammatory forms of rheumatism, malnutrition, chronic intestinal diseases leading to malnutrition, malignant bone tumors and bone metastases (bone cancer).
Causes of drug-induced osteoporosis
Numerous drugs can accelerate the deterioration of bone mass; may cause secondary osteoporosis with high doses and long treatments. The following list provides an overview of such medical “bone robbers”:
- glucocorticoids such as cortisone
- Heparin used for the treatment of thrombosis
- Gonadotropin activators (prostate cancer treatment)
- Antiandrogenic therapy (prostate cancer treatment)
- Aromatase inhibitor (additional treatment for breast cancer)
- Proton pump inhibitors and aluminum-containing antacids as stomach protection (for stomach pain and acid regurgitation)
- Immunosuppressive drugs (post transplant)
- thyroid hormones
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Initially, the loss of bone mass does not cause any complaints. Therefore, the onset of osteoporosis is usually asymptomatic. As a result, the disease is often diagnosed too late, often only noticed after a suspected bone fracture.
That’s why it’s even more important to pay attention to possible signs of osteoporosis, such as:
- Back pain
- Hump formation (curvature of the spine)
- More than 4 cm reduction in body size
With advanced osteoporosis, bones can break spontaneously. Broken bones without accident or violence should raise the suspicion of osteoporosis. The spine is most commonly affected, spinal fractures can cause severe pain.
The formation of tubers and the reduction in body size are due to the collapse of several vertebral bodies.
A clear sign of osteoporosis is a fracture of the femur near the hip joint. What is called a femoral neck fracture indicates advanced osteoporosis. Even with the best treatment, more fractures are likely at this stage of the disease.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
For diagnosis, your doctor will first ask questions about osteoporosis symptoms and risk factors. He or she may order a bone density measurement and want to examine it with X-rays to confirm (or disprove) a suspicion of osteoporosis.
Laboratory examinations (to exclude other bone diseases that also reduce bone density) are less common or microscopic examinations of bone tissue that has been removed (bone biopsy).
If several collapsed vertebrae can be seen on an X- ray , osteoporosis is very likely. However, you can definitely identify or exclude an osteoporosis with X-rays. On the basis of an X-ray image, more than a certain degree of advanced bone loss is sufficient to assume osteoporosis.
Ultrasonic measurement of bone density
This simple examination is usually done on the heel bone. An ultrasound measurement of the spine, in which a decrease in bone density would normally be first detected, is still not possible.
Values measured at the heel give certain indications of the risk of bone fractures in older people. However, it does not allow a reliable diagnosis for persons under 60 years of age.
Therefore, bone density measurement using the DXA method is necessary before drug therapy or to measure the course of bone density.
DXA measurement (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry)
DXA bone density measurement method is very reliable. It is usually done on the lumbar spine and thigh neck. Bone mineral density is measured with weak X-rays and compared to normal values for young, healthy people.
The undeniable advantages of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry are precision, which also provides reliable follow-up measurements, and allows measurements in body areas where broken bones have the most serious consequences.
Quantitative computed tomography
It is a method used to measure the spine. It is rarely used today due to exposure to radiation. Quantitative computed tomography is not part of routine examinations.
How is osteoporosis treated?
Modern osteoporosis treatment combines different treatment approaches. They range from medication to correcting nutritional deficits (calcium, vitamin D), to measures taken to maintain mobility and prevent falls.
The goal of treatment is to delay the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of broken bones.
For the medical treatment of osteoporosis, preparations are available that prevent bone loss or promote bone growth. The most commonly used osteoporosis drugs belong to the group of bisphosphonates.
- Bisphosphonates: Bisphosphonates reduce the breakdown of bone and can stabilize bone density (mineral content of bones). The success of treatment depends on consistent administration and correct intake (if in tablet form). Bisphosphonates usually need to be taken for several years.
- Estrogens: Treatment with female sex hormones is mainly carried out in women under 60 years of age suffering from mild forms of osteoporosis or its preliminary stages (osteoponia). After early or regular menopause, estrogens can improve hormone deficiency symptoms and counteract bone mass loss.
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements: Calcium and vitamin D are necessary to mineralize bones. Although calcium is an important bone component, vitamin D ensures the incorporation of calcium into the bones. Therefore, calcium and vitamin D are used together. The dosage may vary depending on the age, sex and lifestyle of the patient.
Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.
Exercise and sports
Regular physical activities support bone metabolism and strengthen bones. The strongest stimulus for bone metabolism comes from a load on the skeleton in an upright posture.
Especially walking sports are recommended. Regular physical activity also strengthens muscles and improves mobility and balance. Both reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Moderate strength training, medical training therapy, targeted gymnastic exercises; Suitable for building muscle, improving coordination and balance.
A balanced diet with plenty of protein, calcium and vitamins is an important basic measure for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. If you have such an intention, you can consult a dietitian and seek dietary advice that is appropriate for you.
What is good for osteoporosis?
Recent research has found that omega-3-rich foods such as olive oil, soybeans, blueberries, fish oil and flaxseed oil may also have bone-strengthening benefits.
While additional research is needed before the link between these foods and bone health can be definitively established, the overall health benefits of these foods make them excellent options to add to your diet.
Research has also shown that a moderate intake of certain alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer, and tea, can be good for your bones.
More research is needed to help us better understand the relationship between these beverages and bone health.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?
The goal of preventing osteoporosis coincides with the goal of treating osteoporosis. These; stimulation of bone metabolism should maintain or even increase bone density, especially to prevent falling.
This happens primarily through exercise and sports, a balanced diet with protein, calcium and vitamin D (found in fatty fish, liver and egg yolk).
To avoid risking a broken bone, you must be aware of your own risk of falling and turn off certain risk factors. This could mean eliminating stumbling blocks in the home, improving lighting, buying a shower stool or installing handles.
In addition, older people should be aware of their mental and physical shortcomings; for example, through rhythm and strength training.