Osteoporosis refers to a condition that causes bones to deteriorate, making them extremely fragile. This also poses great dangers for increasing the risk of fractures, as osteoporosis can get worse with time. Primary osteoporosis occurs due to the normal aging process and at the time of or after menopause. Secondary osteoporosis is often experienced by cancer survivors as a side effect of the treatment.
Is It Treatable?
While medical experts believe there is no ultimate cure for osteoporosis, nonetheless, it is treatable. There are several medications available for helping slow down bone loss or augment the rate of bone formation. It is important to discuss with your physician any medication or treatment options that will help to relieve pain and prevent further damage. A nutritious diet and some effective exercises recommended by your doctor can prevent bone loss or fractures resulting from osteoporosis.
How to Treat Osteoporosis
Even though hormone replacement was thought to efficiently combat the disease, it has become an outdated method with the launch modern anti-osteoporotic medication, like bisphosphonates. The spine and the hips are the most susceptible regions in the human body for a person suffering from osteoporosis. That is why they are prone to getting fractured. A large number of spine fractures can be successfully treated without surgery by means of rest, anti-osteoporotic and calcium medication, while hip and wrist conditions may require specific treatments.
People suffering from osteoporotic vertebral fractures may need a ‘brace’ for supporting their spine for the healing period. However, a few patients enduring an advanced level of osteoporosis are at risks of progressive vertebral collapse, which eventually leads to paralysis of the lower limbs and compression of the spinal cord. Prompt treatment or surgery can help prevent a major catastrophe due to osteoporosis. A recent, minimal invasive technique known as Kyphoplasty also assists in treating vertebral fractures in people with osteoporosis. This involves passing a special balloon through a needle in the vertebral body.
Early signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include pain in joints, trouble in standing, and pain while sitting up straight. Osteopenia can be diagnosed by checking whether the bone mineral density is lower as compared to the normal ranges. Several healthcare providers believe that it can act as a precursor to osteoporosis. However, it must be noted that a large number of people who are diagnosed for osteopenia never develop osteoporosis.
How to Prevent Osteoporosis
As the severity of osteoporosis can be treated but the condition cannot be cured completely, it is essential to take due care during the younger years for avoiding complications in later years. Young adults must consume around 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium each day by means of their diet or through supplements to ensure strong bones. Women who are 50+ should get 1,200 to 1,300 mg of calcium every day. Important calcium sources include yogurt, low fat milk and cheese. Based on a person’s particular needs, a doctor may prescribe a Vitamin D or a calcium supplement.
A healthy diet including green leafy vegetables and protein rich foods along with fruits also ensures that our bones remain healthy throughout our lives, while adopting an exercise-friendly lifestyle that includes jogging, playing a sport, or brisk walking can also help prevent osteoporosis.
When to Get Tested?
It’s suggested for all individuals, especially women at risk for osteoporosis, who are 65 or above, cancer survivors, and men over the age of 70, to get relevant tests done for osteoporosis. It can be detected by means of a DEXA scan that must be repeated after every two years for checking if your bone density has changed.
Consult your doctor to ask for information about osteoporosis and describe any symptoms you may think are occurring because of this condition. Even though the risks of developing it usually occur after you turn 65, osteoporosis can occur during any phase of life in case you are being exposed to treatments that increase the likelihood for developing the condition.