What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break (fracture).
In this disease, BMD (bone mineral density) is reduced and alteration in the amount of protein in the bone takes place. During this, we can also find deterioration of bone architecture taking place.
What are the symptoms?
The disease is a slow developing one and there may be no obvious symptoms that you have osteoporosis.
One visible sign of osteoporosis is the characteristic stooping (bent forward) position that occurs in older people. It happens when the bones in the spine are fractured, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.
Who is at risk?
Approximately 3 million people in the UK are thought to have osteoporosis, and there are over 230,000 fractures every year as a result. It mainly affects woman over 50 years of age, but also affects men and children.
What treatments are available?
Prevention has the best prognosis and can be easily achieved with a change of lifestyle. Medications and supplements (Vitamin D and calcium) can also used if your diet is insufficient in these. Preventing falls by being careful and taking measures to stop falling will help. Limiting alcohol intake and tobacco smoking should also be done. To achieve a higher peak bone mass and to prevent bone fractures, exercise should be done and proper nutrition should be taken right from adolescence.
Once diagnosed with osteoporosis, a few factors will determine what treatment is suitable for you;
- bone density (measured by your T score)
- risk factors for fracture
Medication is likely to be an integral part of your treatment. Your GP will be able to advise you once diagnosed.