Who is at Risk of Developing Osteoporosis?

An estimated 75 million people experience osteoporosis related fractures. Again one in three men experience fractures due to osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue.

Menopause, lack of calcium and vitamin D are the major causes of Osteoporosis.

An individual suffering from Osteoporosis is at an increased risk for fractured bones in the hip, spine and wrist areas.

Prevalence of Osteoporosis

It is generally believed that osteoporosis is a condition that affects elderly people, especially women. However, one does not realize that the damage from osteoporosis begins much earlier and we need to take steps to build strong bones early in life.

Peak bone density in a person is reached at around 25 years of age and it is this bone density that helps you later in life.

The occurrence of this disease is high in woman.

Statistics show that nearly 80% of all forearm fractures, 75% of humerus fractures, 70% of hip and 58% of spine fractures occur in women.

On an overall basis, 61% of osteoporosis related fractures occur in women.

Nearly 75% of hip, spine and distal forearm fracture occur in patients who are 65 years or age or older.

The leading cause of Osteoporosis is lack of certain hormones, estrogen in women and androgen in men.

The production of estrogen decreases in women once they reach menopause, their bones tend to become weak and they are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.

Other factors that can contribute to bone loss or weak bones is inadequate consumption of calcium and vitamin D, lack of weight-bearing exercise and other age-related changes.

Other medical problems like thyroid, lack of muscle use, bone cancer, certain genetic disorders, and use of certain medications can also lead to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can be classified into primary and secondary.

The primary type is subdivided into postmenopausal, age related and idiopathic.

While the reasons for postmenopausal and age related osteoporosis are evident, idiopathic osteoporosis occurs suddenly without any definite cause in early childhood.

However, this type of osteoporosis goes off as the child becomes an adult.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis may start affecting you at a very young age without you witnessing any symptoms.

In later stages the problem may be visible in the form of a dull pain in the bones or muscles which may suddenly worsen and its frequency may increase.

Osteoporosis damages your bones at a slow but steady pace and ultimately paralyzes your normal functioning.

Some common symptoms of Osteoporosis are:

- Severe back pain which is generally due to a fractured or collapsed vertebra

- Breakage of bones due to accident

- Mild but regular pain in the bones

- Loss of height over time

One should seek the advice of a doctor if you have constant pain in areas like the neck or lower back. Any severe pain in your bones and muscles that limits your ability to move around should not be ignored.

Treatment of Osteoporosis

Several medications are available to treat Osteoporosis.

Since the basic cause of bone problems is lack of calcium and vitamin D, medicines that can help compensate for them are quite useful.

Patients need to take painkillers under proper guidance from a physician while taking care to avoid fractures. Regular exercise is another way to prevent the worsening of osteoporosis.