Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease caused by loss of bone density and tensile strength. This disorder makes the individual prone to fracture because of weakened bones. The bones become porous that it literally can be compressible like a sponge.
Osteoporosis can be categorized as the primary type 1 osteoporosis, primary type 2 osteoporosis and secondary osteoporosis.
Primary type 1 osteoporosis is caused by non modifiable factors such as in menopausal stage. This type is called postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Type 2 is also known as senile osteoporosis. Type 2 usually develops after the age of 75 and is more common in women than men with a 2:1 ratio.
Secondary osteoporosis is a condition caused by non natural occurring factors. These factors are medications and medical conditions like endocrine disorders and malnutrition.
Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption. Normally, the bones undergo remodeling. When problems occur that will impede proper bone remodeling, osteoporosis occurs.
The three mechanisms wherein osteoporosis develops are:
- an inadequate peak bone mass
- excessive bone resorption
- inadequate formation of bone remodeling
With these three mechanisms, fragile bone tissue develops. There are certain numbers of factors that influence fragile bone development. One of these factors is a lack of estrogen. Lack of estrogen will increase bone resorption. On the other hand, deficiency of calcium and vitamin D causes impaired bone deposition. Moreover, endocrine disorders such as disorders of the thyroid and parathyroid affect the release of hormones necessary for bone development.
The risk factors of osteoporosis are the female gender, Caucasian race, Asian race, family history of osteoporosis, smoking, drinking alcohol, thin and small body frame, physical inactivity, low estrogen levels in women, low testosterone levels in men, chemotherapy, immobility, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism and excessive intake of medications such as glucocorticoids, heparin and dilantin.
One can suspect osteoporosis if an individual experiences fractures normal people in normal situation would not. Fractures are the most dangerous complication of osteoporosis. Some people may not realize that they have osteoporosis until bone pain happens. The pain experienced by individuals will vary depending on the location of the pain or fracture.
When fracture of the spine happens, one may report low back pain or severe back pain radiating to the sides of the body. Hip fracture is very common with people experiencing osteoporosis. This fracture heals slowly because of poor healing of the bone.
The goal of treatment for osteoporosis is to reduce bone loss, decrease bone resorption and increase bone density and strength. Medications are given to increase bone strength and reduce bone loss. These medications are risedronate (Actonel), raloxifene (Evista), alendronate (Fosamax), calcitonin (Calcimar), denosumab (Prolia) and zoledronate (Reclast). All of the medications given for osteoporosis are not complete cures because osteoporosis is a degenerative disease. They help decrease the risk of fractures by their actions but it is difficult to build bones that are affected by osteoporosis.
Changing your lifestyle helps a great deal in prevention of osteoporosis, such as cessation of smoking and drinking of alcohol, exercising to attain higher peak bone mass, and eating foods with adequate amount of vitamin D and calcium. People who have a very high risk for osteoporosis may receive biphosphonate and estrogen replacement therapies.