OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is said to be a disease categorized by the deterioration of bone tissue and low bone mass that increases the risk of fractures. Bones become weak and brittle that a fall or even mild stress such as bending over, or coughing may cause a fracture. This is because the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone. Most common fractures are those of the hip, spine and wrist. Medications, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones. [1; 3]

 

The structure of the bone deteriorates (bone become weak and brittle) the bones become too weak and brittle to sustain ordinary strains or falls.Osteoporosis patients have a much greater risk of breaking a bone, especially those of the hip, spine and wrist.

RISK FACTORS [1]

  • Use of steroids which can affect the amount of calcium in the body by reducing the amount absorbed by the gut and increasing the amount excreted by the kidneys thus affecting the production of bone.

  • Lack of oestrogen, for example, due to menopause or a hysterectomy increases your risk as it increases bone loss.

  • Lack of weight-bearing exercise may increase your risk for calcium loss from your bones.

  • Lack of calcium or vitamin D in your diet.

  • Family history increases the risk due to inherited factors that affect bone development.

  • Excessive alcohol increases the risk as it will reduce the ability to make bone and increase the risk of bone breaking.

  • Excessive smoking has an increased risk as tobacco has been seen to have a direct toxicity to bones.

  • Previous fractures have been seen to increase your risk.

  • Medical condition that affect absorption such as coeliac disease may increase your risk as calcium won’t get absorbed properly.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Back pain

  • Loss of height over time.

  • A bent posture.

  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF DISEASE

  • A bone mineral density (BMD) test will confirm osteoporosis in a patient

  • A BMD test is safe and painless

  • It measures the density of the bones

 

The BMD test will also detect low bone density in its early stages predict future risk of fracture determine the rate of bone loss assist your doctor in choosing the appropriate treatment.

COMPLICATIONS [2]

  • Mobility can become limited as osteoporosis can be disabling and limit your physical activity causing you to gain weight which can then increase strain on your bones especially your knees and hips. Weight gain can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  • Depression can be caused by being isolated and losing independence due to limited physical activity. This is due to the fact the activities that one once enjoyed cause pain if attempted due to osteoporosis.

  • Severe pain cause by fractures as a result of osteoporosis.

  • Fractures my result in loss of height, a stooping posture and persistent back, hip and neck pain.

  • Deformities due to strain on the bones which can affect your ability to walk.
                                                                                                                        

GENERAL HEALTH TIPS [1; 4]

  • Having a healthy diet is important for bone growth. Foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, etc.

    • Calcium containing foods such as dairy products, canned sardines or salmon (with bones), turnip, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage or broccoli.

    • Vitamin D containing food such as dairy products, some cereals, breads, fatty varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines.

    • Potassium containing foods such as tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, bananas, plantains, prunes or papaya.

    • Vitamin K containing foods such as dark green vegetables.

    • Vitamin C containing foods such as bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries or pineapples.

    • Magnesium containing foods such as spinach, sweet potatoes, raisins, plantains, artichokes or beet greens.

  • Another source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. It is recommended that one needs at least 15 minutes on sunlight exposure a day.

  • Regular exercise is needed for bone mass. Weight bearing exercise, resistance training or strength exercises for bone density is recommended. This includes walking, running, hiking, etc. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for a minimum of five days per week.

  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol as alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin D. People who drink heavily generally do not have proper nutrition.

  • Try to avoid falls by removing loose wires, reducing clutter, removing throw rugs, putting bars in the bathroom, making sure your house is well lit, putting nonskid rubber mats in the kitchen, putting rails on stair cases etc. Chances of getting fractures due to falls increases due to osteoporosis.

  • Stop smoking as it reduces bone density.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff [Internet]. Osteoporosis. America: Mayo Clinic; [updated 2019 Jun 17; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968.

  2. Driver, C.B. [Internet]. Osteoporosis. America: eMedicine Health; [updated 2016 Sep 07; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/slideshow_osteoarthritis_overview/article_em.htm.

  3. MacGill, M. [Internet]. What to know about osteoporosis. United Kingdom: Healthline Media; [updated 2019 Jul 22; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155646.php.

  4. Health Library [Internet]. Lifestyle changes to manage osteoporosis. America: Winchester Hospital; [updated 2018; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=19930.

  5. University of Missouri Health [Internet]. Awareness, Adherence Key to Improved Osteoporosis Care. Colombia: Orthopaedic Design & Technology; [updated 2019 Jun 23; cited 2019 Sep 12]. Available from: https://www.odtmag.com/contents/view_breaking-news/2017-06-23/awareness-adherence-key-to-improved-osteoporosis-care/.

  6. Osteoporosis and Bone Physiology [Internet]. Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Washington: Susan Ott; [updated 2019 Feb 21; cited 2019 Sep 12]. Available from: https://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/optreatment.html.

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