With osteoporosis, your bones may become not only weak but also fragile. At times, they become so fragile that a little fall, or even a mild pressure, like coughing or bending over may become the reason for a fracture. The fractures relating to osteoporosis usually happen in the spine, wrists or hips.
Bones are living tissues that constantly undergo the process of removal (breaking down) and replacement. Osteoporosis happens when the creation of fresh bones is not able to keep up the pace with the elimination of old bones. Osteoporosis affects both males and females irrespective of their race.
But Asian and White females, especially in the post-menopausal stage, run a higher risk of developing the disease. Healthy diets, weight-bearing exercises and medicines help in preventing the loss or bones and retaining the bone strength.
During the early phase of losing bone, osteoporosis does not indicate symptoms. But as the bones start weakening because of osteoporosis, they start showing symptoms, like:
- Back pain because of a collapsed vertebra or a fracture
- Height loss over a period of time
- An arched posture
- Bones breaking easily than anticipated
When to see a doctor
You may like to consult your doctor about osteoporosis, in case:
- You have gone through menopause at an early stage
- You have been using corticosteroids consistently for many months
- Your parents have had a bone fracture in their hips
Your bones get weakened by osteoporosis. They are regularly in the renewal state. While a new bone gets structured the old one gets broken. In your younger age, your body tends to structure fresh bones rapidly in comparison to their breaking down. Thus, the bone mass also gets augmented.
Mostly, people attain the highest level of bone mass in their early 20s. With the advancing age, your bone mass starts waning in comparison to the creation. Your chances of developing osteoporosis will partly depend the accumulated bone mass during your youth. The higher amount of bone mass accumulated during your youth indicates the lesser probability of developing osteoporosis as you grow older.
There are a number of risk factors that may increase the probability of developing osteoporosis, such as:
- Your age
- Lifestyle choices
- The race you belong to
- Your medical conditions and the treatment, if any, thereof
Inevitable risk factors
There are certain risk factors for developing osteoporosis that are natural and beyond anyone’s control, such as:
Age – With the advancing age, the likelihood of developing osteoporosis increases. Race – You run a higher risk of developing osteoporosis if you happen to be a white or Asian descendant.
Family history – The persons having a parent or a sibling suffering with osteoporosis run a higher risk of developing the disease, especially if a father or mother has gone through a fracture in the hip.
Body size – The size of your body plays a crucial role as you grow old. The males and females having small body frame are likely to have a higher risk of bone loss as they lack bone mass they require to draw in their advancing age.
Osteoporosis are commonly found in persons, having imbalanced hormone levels in their body, such as:
- Sex hormones
Lesser levels of sex hormones create a tendency of weakening your bones. The reduced amount of estrogen in females as they attain menopause is one of the significant risk factors for afflicted with osteoporosis. As the males advance in their age, they have a slow decline in their testosterone hormone, which is a significant part of androgens, levels.
The curing process of prostate cancer also reduce the levels of testosterone in males. Similarly, the breast cancer treatments decrease the levels of estrogen in females and are prone to bone loss rapidly.
- Thyroid problems
The lesser amount of thyroid hormone in the body may also cause loss of bones. This may happen if your thyroid gland is working actively extraordinarily or you have been taking medicines for curing your slowly producing thyroid gland.
- Disorders in other glands
Osteoporosis is seen to be linked with adrenal and hyper-parathyroid glands.
Dietary factors The probability of developing osteoporosis is more in persons who happen to have:
- Low calcium consumption
The lack of calcium plays an important role in developing osteoporosis. The low calcium consumption:
- Reduces your bone density
- Increases fractures risk
- Increases risk of losing bone at an early stage
- Eating disorders
Limiting your food consumption rigorously and being skinny may also weaken your bones, irrespective of your gender.
- Gastrointestinal surgery
Going through a surgery for either reducing your stomach size or removing a portion of your intestine restricts the size of the available surface area. This surface area otherwise is useful for absorbing nutrients and calcium.
- Steroids and other medicines
Using corticosteroid medicines either injected or orally like cortisone or prednisone for a longer period may interfere with the process of rebuilding your bones. Osteoporosis is seen to be linked with the use of medicines for fighting or preventing the ailments, such as:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Gastric or acid reflux
- Transplanted tissue rejection
- Medical conditions
Those having certain medical issues run a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. These issues may include:
- Autoimmune disorder genetically
- Inflammatory bowel ailment
- Liver of kidney ailment
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple myeloma
Lifestyle Certain lifestyle-related habits may also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. They may be:
- Inactive lifestyle
Those spending increased time on their desks and ignoring the importance of physical activities run a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as compared to more agile people. Any types of weightlifting exercises or activities that help in propping up a good balance or posture are advantageous for your bones. They may be:
- Dancing, or
- Alcohol Consumption
Consumption of alcohol regularly and immoderately not only harms your liver but also increases the risk of your developing osteoporosis.
- Tobacco use
The precise role of smoking or tobacco in developing osteoporosis is not understandable and known. But the persistent use of tobacco is shown to be weakening your bones.
The density of your bones is measured by using an X-ray machine of low level that indicates the presence of the proportion of minerals in them. The examination is a painless process wherein you are made to lie on a padded table. The X-ray scanner is run through over your body. Mostly, a few numbers of bones that are found in your spine, wrist and hips are examined.
The bone density examination is used recommending the line of treatment, which is based on the estimated propensity of your bone breaking over the next 10 years. In case the probability does not seem high, the treatment may not include prescribing medicines.
Instead, the risk factors are modified, as such, to prevent loss of bones and falls. Both males and females running a higher risk of fracture are prescribed the most extensively prescribed bisphosphonate medicines for osteoporosis. They may include:
- Zoledronic acid (Reclast) or Zoledronate
- Fozamad Alendronate Soium
- Boniva Ibandronate
- Actonel Risedronate
The probable side effects of using these medicines may include:
- Abdominal pain
The symptoms may moderately be prevented if the medicines are taken in a proper manner. The bisphosphonate medicines that are taken intravenously do not upset your stomach, but have the tendency of causing:
- Muscle pain
These symptoms may generally last for three days. And, it is easier to remember to take an injection after every quarter or a year than scheduling a weekly or even monthly tablet, though it may cost you a little extra. The use of bisphosphonate therapy consistently for 5 years or more is associated with a rare issue wherein the thigh bone may get a crack in the center or even split.
Bisphosphonates also may prospectively harm the jawbone. Osteonecrosis is a rare medical condition wherein the blood supply to the bones gets reduced. This medical condition may affect your jawbone soon after undergoing a tooth Before beginning the treatment using bisphosphonates, it is advised to have a complete dental examination.
Estrogen, helps in maintaining the bone density if taken after menopause. But, the estrogen therapy may also increase the probability of abetting blood clots, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and even heart ailment. Therefore, estrogen is generally advised to be used in younger females or the females requiring treatment of menopause symptoms.
Raloxifene (Evista) imitates the benefits of bone density as with estrogen in females after attaining menopause, without many of the risks linked with the use of estrogen. Taking this medicine may help in reducing the risks of developing breast cancer. Getting hot flashes are one usual side effect. But with the use of raloxifene, the risk of developing blood clots cannot be mitigated.
In males, osteoporosis are generally associated with lower levels of testosterone because of advancing age. The testosterone therapy does help in improving the symptoms of having low levels of testosterone. But, there are also medicines available for treating the osteoporosis. Hence, they are recommended for use either alone or adding the testosterone also.
Other osteoporosis medications
In case either the osteoporosis treatment is not working well with you or the usual treatment is not well tolerable, your treating doctor may like recommending you:
Evaluating the treatment with bisphosphonates, denosumab generates almost similar and better bone density outcomes and reduces the probability of all kinds of fractures. Denosumab is given as an injection under the cover of the skin biannually.
This is a prevailing medication similar to that of parathyroid hormone in stimulating the growth of bones. It is given in the form of an injection under the skin, every day. Nearly after two years of persistent treatment with the medicine, another medicine for osteoporosis is given for maintaining the growth of new bones.
Protein of Soy seems to work as estrogen on the tissues of the bones. Certain studies suggest that the risk of bone fracture can be reduced in the Asian females, especially in their post-menopausal phase, if they consume a higher quantity of such protein. However, soy may be used with care by the females having a family or their own history of having breast cancer.
For this reason, the widely available soy products having protein have not been shown here for reducing the risk of fractures. Ipriflavone is one produce that is manufactured in the lab from isoflavones, which is originated from soy. When combined with calcium, Ipriflavone is seen to be preventing the loss of bones and reducing pains developed in the spine fractures having density issues.
The fractures, especially in the hip or spine, are the grave complication of developing osteoporosis. Fractures in the hip usually happen because of a fall. They result not only in disability, but also the afflicted person run a higher risk of demise within the initial one year.
At times, the fractures in the spine may happen even when you have not fallen. The bones that build your vertebrae (spine) get weaken to such an extent that they get crushed. Such a condition may cause a forwardly curved posture, back pain and even loss of height.