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Bones are living tissues that are regularly broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep pace with the loss of old bone.

Osteoporosis is a severe case of bone loss that weakens the bones and makes them more likely to fracture. In other words, Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become so fragile that there are higher risks of fracture. It happens when the body loses density or bone mass. The bones of people with osteoporosis become so weak that mild stresses like coughing or bending over and even a fall can lead to a fracture.

The fractures related to osteoporosis most commonly occur in the wrist (distal end radius), hip, or spine. Osteoporosis can also lead to vertebrae in the spine collapse. Symptoms of vertebral collapse include height loss, severe back pain, and changes in posture, such as hunching or stooping.

Spine and hip fractures are the most serious complications of osteoporosis. Fractures in the hip are usually caused by a fall and can lead to disability and an even higher risk of death within the first year of injury. In some cases, fractures in the spine occur even without falling due to the collapsing of vertebrae.

Both men and women are affected by osteoporosis, but women who are past menopause are at higher risk. This is because the hormonal changes that happen due to menopause directly affect bone density. Estrogen is the hormone that protects the bones and it decreases when women reach menopause which leads to bone loss and put women at a higher risk of osteoporosis.

On the other hand, Osteopenia is a condition in which people have a lower bone mineral density or a lower bone mass than is usual for a person's age. But the bone mineral density isn't low enough to diagnose osteoporosis. So, osteopenia is the stage before osteoporosis and can progress to osteoporosis if proper treatment isn't given in time.

The most common symptom of osteopenia is the loss of height. It is normal for a person to lose height as they age. But, losing more height than usual may be an indication of an underlying problem with bone health.

Factors that may increase the chance of osteoporosis are: -

  • Long periods of inactivity and low levels of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Bone loss occurs more as a person ages
  • Age
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Long-term use of cancer medication, anti-epileptic drugs, proton pump inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • A diet low in Vitamin D, Protein, and Calcium

There are usually no warning signs or symptoms in the early stages of osteoporosis. In fact, in most cases, people get to know they have osteoporosis when they have a fracture.

The symptoms that may appear are: -

  • Weakened grip strength
  • Brittle and weak nails
  • Receding gums

Also, if you have a family history of osteoporosis then you should definitely consult a doctor to evaluate your risk.

There are many risk factors of osteoporosis that can not be controlled. Such factors are sex, age, family history of osteoporosis, etc. But, some factors can be controlled. Some of the best ways to prevent osteoporosis are: -

  • Getting an adequate amount of Vitamin D and Calcium on a daily basis
  • Stop smoking and consuming alcohol or carbonated drinks
  • Doing weight-bearing exercises
  • Not being inactive for too long

Tags:   #Osteoporosis,  #Bone density

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