Osteoporosis – Why are my bones so brittle?
Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects the bones.
Typically, the insides of the bones have small spaces that look like a honeycomb. The size of these spaces is usually tiny and helps maintain the structural integrity of bones.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis increases the size of these spaces, which reduces bone mineral density.
Osteoporosis affects millions of people around the world, with a particularly high incidence in older individuals and postmenopausal women.
In this article, we will discuss the causes, clinical presentations, and treatment options for osteoporosis.
Causes of osteoporosis
According to research, there are several factors that contribute to developing osteoporosis. These may include medical conditions (e.g., hyperthyroidism) or medications (e.g., corticosteroids).
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Advanced age
- Female gender
- Race (e.g., Caucasian, Asian)
- Poor nutrition
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Low body mass index
Signs and symptoms of osteoporosis
Generally speaking, the early stages of osteoporosis do not cause any serious symptoms.
In fact, many patients get diagnosed with this condition after having one or more fractures without any physical trauma.
Some early signs and symptoms include:
- Weakened grip strength
- Brittle nails
- Receding gums
Once osteoporosis advances, more severe symptoms arise, including:
- Fracture without trauma, which can be triggered by a strong sneeze or cough.
- Pain in the back or neck, indicating bone injury.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, make sure to consult with your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Treatment of osteoporosis
The treatment options for osteoporosis depend on the severity of your condition, as well as the underlying triggers.
For instance, if you are a postmenopausal woman whose condition was triggered by hormonal imbalance, prescribing hormone replacement therapy is the best way to address osteoporosis.
Additionally, lifestyle modifications are crucial to prevent future episodes of fractures.
However, the fundamental treatment for osteoporosis is the increase of calcium and vitamin D intake. You can achieve this by consuming foods that contain large amounts of calcium and vitamin D or by taking dietary supplements.
One thing to keep in mind is that osteoporosis has no curative treatment. However, and with the appropriate lifestyle modifications and calcium/vitamin D intake, you can restore your bones’ structural integrity and strength.
Osteoporosis is an extremely common condition, with millions of new cases every year. The good news is that governments and nonprofit institutions around the world are working hard to educate people about the risk of osteoporosis and the right steps to prevent/treat this condition.
Hopefully, this article will serve as an introduction to this topic.