Osteoporosis: Essence, Symptoms and Prevention

Osteoporosis is common in people over 60-70 years old and in menopausal women. It is the main cause of frequent bone fractures in the elderly. For the diagnosis of osteoporosis, radiography and bone densitometry are conducted. Densitometry can be x-ray and ultrasound.

Methods to diagnose osteoporosis

Today, the best method for this is x-ray densitometry, which reflects the content of hydroxyapatite per unit of bone surface and bone density. This is an absolutely painless and safe method. In addition to the diagnosis of osteoporosis, it allows you to determine:

  • the place of the lowest bone density, where a fracture can occur in a high probability;
  • to estimate the probability of fractures in the future,
  • the loss of mass in the bones,
  • track the effectiveness of drugs.

Ultrasonic densitometry (ultrasound) has also become widespread. It provides information on the mechanical properties of the bone and the risk of fracture.Osteoporosis_What You Need to Know

Causes of osteoporosis

There is a decrease in bone density, their strength is decreased. These are normal age changes with age. However, for some people, such changes occur earlier and more intense. There are many risk factors for osteoporosis, knowing about them can help you prevent the onset and slow down the course of this disease.

Risk factors that cannot be changed:

  • female sex;
  • weak, thin bones of the skeleton;
  • age over 65 years;
  • a hereditary factor.

Risk factors that can be affected:

  • food poor in calcium and vitamin D;
  • use of certain drugs, such as corticosteroids and anticonvulsants;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • smoking;
  • excessive use of alcohol.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

The bone begins to thin without any symptoms. A person may not be aware of the presence of osteoporosis until he falls and breaks a leg or arm. Of course, fractures occur at a young age. In the case of osteoporosis, the load required for a bone fracture is much weaker.

Osteoporosis can also manifest itself as pain in the back and spine, a decrease in growth, a round-shouldered walking, and spinal deformities.

Complications

  • Frequent fractures (pathological), which in some cases long and poorly grow together;
  • External physical defects;
  • Obstructed movement.

What can you do?

It is completely impossible to recover from osteoporosis, but you can learn to live with it and stop the disease progression. For this you need:

  • walking;
  • jogging;
  • dancing. It gives the bones the necessary healthy “stress” and makes them stronger. Such exercises will strengthen muscles, improve coordination and balance.
  • A healthy diet with optimal content of calcium and vitamin D is required. it is best to have a balanced diet on the basis of the food pyramid. It is important to ensure that you get the right amount of calcium and vitamin D, both from food and its supplements. If you already have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, you should take 200 mg of calcium and 400-800 gr. of vitamin D per day.
  • consult a doctor;
  • get acquainted with your doctor with the medications that slow down the destruction of bones and strengthen them. There are a number of new drugs for the osteoporosis treatment which increases bone density and slows down its thinning.

What can a doctor do?

To determine the degree of bone destruction and eliminate osteomalacia (demineralization of bones due to vitamin D deficiency, this disease is called rickets in children), the doctor may direct you to an x-ray, bone densitometry, biopsy, urine and blood tests.

The doctor may also recommend you nutritional supplements (calcium, vitamins) and medications:

  • aimed at the formation of bones (strontium, teriparatide);
  • antiresorptive drugs (bisphosphonates);
  • selective estrogen receptor modulators.
  • You can be referred to a physical therapist for training in physical exercises that strengthen bones.

Preventive measures

Start taking care of your health as early as possible. Bones become thinner constantly. Try to accustom yourself to a healthy lifestyle long before the age osteoporosis begins (including postmenopausal).

Calculate the amount of calcium in your food or take nutritional supplements. A natural source of vitamin D formation is walking in the sun (vitamin D is formed in the skin under the action of UV rays). If your diet does not have enough vitamin D or if you can’t regularly go to the sun, take 400-800 gr. of vitamin D in the form of food supplements. This is the amount that is found in most multivitamin complexes. Also, regular exercise, especially walking, jogging and aerobics will help strengthen their condition.

Stop smoking. In women who smoke, the level of estrogen decreases, which causes a decrease in bone density.

Do not abuse alcohol. Frequently, the bones become weaker and fractures occur more often.