A progressive bone condition that afflicts more than 12 million adults in this country, osteoporosis remains one of the leading diseases that contributes to bone fractures in adults. Osteoporosis weakens bones throughout the body, although it most frequently afflicts the bones in the hip, wrists, and spine.
Causes of Osteoporosis
A variety of factors can elevate a person’s risk of developing this condition. A bone is living tissue that regenerates itself continuously throughout a person’s life. People who take certain medications, avoid certain dietary nutrients, or who have inherited certain traits from their parents or grandparents could inhibit this regeneration process and instead be left with old bone tissue that is brittle and prone to fractures. In fact, doctors have identified these factors as contributing to this disease and causing people to suffer from frequent bone breaks:
• Menopause: Menopausal women are statistically at a higher risk of developing this condition. Because they have lowered estrogen levels in their bodies, women who are experiencing or who are past menopause can suffer from brittle bones and bone fractures.
• Medications: Some popular prescription medications, especially those that contain corticosteroids, are known to contribute to the development of osteoporosis.
• Diet: Calcium remains a vital nutrient that helps ward off this disease. People who avoid calcium and indulge in less than healthy dietary habits put themselves at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
• Genetics: Relatives who have osteoporosis put some people at a higher risk of suffering from osteoporosis later in life. Genetics play a significant role in explaining why some people develop this condition.
• Alcohol and Tobacco Use: Scientists have linked the consumption of alcohol, as well as tobacco use, to the onset of this disease. People who partake of these lifestyle choices elevate their chances of developing osteoporosis.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Patients who are identified as being at risk of suffering from osteoporosis can submit to routine medical testing to detect the extent of their bone weakness. People diagnosed with the onset of osteoporosis may be prescribed any of these common treatments:
• Prescription Medications: Physicians today rely on a variety of medications, particularly those that contain bisphosphonates, to treat this condition and to keep it in check. Many of these medicines are known to cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and esophageal ulcers, however. People who want to avoid these side effects can also opt to receive hormone injections one to two times per year.
• Lifestyle Changes: Along with taking daily calcium supplements, osteoporosis patients are also encouraged to make lifestyle changes to adjust to their conditions. These changes can range from wearing shoes with sturdy, non-slip soles to installing safety equipment, such as safety bars in the bathroom, to prevent falls. Patients can also wear braces around their wrists, ankles, and knees to protect these sensitive joints. Doctors may additionally advise people to rely on the help of their family and friends to carry out daily errands like shopping, doing laundry, and other chores that could cause them to put stress on their bones.
As people age, they could be at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. This progressive bone disease afflicts those individuals who have genetic traits, dietary delinquencies, or medication regimens that are known to be common factors of this condition. Osteoporosis can be managed effectively with prescription medications and lifestyle adjustments.