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August 14, 2018

Understanding Osteoporosis

Understanding Osteoporosis

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If left to progress, osteoporosis can have a debilitating effect—learn about prevention and reading the signs.

Osteoporosis is a term that describes the condition of weak bones, which are prone to breakage and injury. Although bones are known to weaken naturally over time, those belonging to an osteoporosis sufferer will be especially thin and brittle for their age. In severe cases, a sneeze or a cough can cause damage to the body; for instance, producing a rib fracture or partial collapse of one of the spinal bones. Repetitive bone fractures can impede daily living and can often restrict an individual’s independence.

Who’s affected?

While osteoporosis can affect anybody, women tend

to develop it more frequently. Women are especially susceptible during the first few years after the menopause; this is due to a lack of estrogen, which is a hormone that helps to prevent bone loss. Men and children can also develop the condition, although it is far less common. Some of the most typical injuries in people with osteoporosis include wrist, hip and spinal bone fractures.

What treatments are available?

If the diagnosis of osteoporosis has come as a result of a low impact

What are the warning signs?

There are no obvious physical signifiers for osteoporosis, which means that it often goes unmanaged or undiagnosed. One of the primary signs of osteoporosis is the breaking of a bone as a result of a minor fall or accident. It is usually then that a physician will identify the condition. As the disease worsens, sufferers may notice pain in their back as a result of changes to the vertebrae. This is a common cause for chronic pain and may also materialise into a change in posture. If a doctor suspects that a patient is suffering from osteoporosis, they will usually suggest a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) as an effective means of detection.

fracture, the first priority will be to treat that injury. Most fractures will be treated in an A&E; doctors will usually apply a cast or splint to allow the body part to heal. In some cases, the breakage may need to be manipulated by a specialist before the cast is fitted. Warm baths and cold packs are known to aid in the recovery of a fracture. Another method for coping with a fracture includes transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)—a small battery-operated device that stimulates the nerves and reduces pain. Alternatively, your doctor may suggest some relaxation methods to make your recovery time more comfortable.

Can the risk of further fractures be lowered?

Having frequent eyesight checks can prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring in people with frail bones. Installing handrails in the house and living areas can also make moving from room to room safer and easier. If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis, take steps to keep your bones healthy and strong. This may involve tweaking your lifestyle or adapting your daily routine. Above all, try to take regular exercise and consume a healthy diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D—both of which work to nourish bones. You may even choose to take supplements in order to keep your vitamin levels topped up. Another recommended preventative would be to give up smoking, which is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.

33%

The percentage of older adults whose hip fracture causes them to become physically impaired and lose their ability to live independently one year after the fracture

Source: worldosteoporosisday.org