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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is said to be a disease categorized by the deterioration of bone tissue and low bone mass
that increases the risk of fracture.

Osteoporosis is said to be a disease categorized by the deterioration of bone tissue and low bone mass that increases the risk of fracture. Bones become weak and brittle that a fall or even mild stress such as bending over, or coughing may cause a fracture.
This is because the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone. Most common fractures are those of the hip, spine and wrist.
Medications, a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones. [1; 3]
The structure of the bone deteriorates (bone become weak and brittle).  The bones become too weak and brittle to sustain ordinary strains or falls.
Osteoporosis patients have a much greater risk of breaking a bone, especially those of the hip, spine and wrist.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Back pain
  • Loss of height over time
  • A bent posture
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily
    than expected.

DIAGNOSIS OF DISEASE

  • A bone mineral density (BMD) test will confirm osteoporosis in a patient
  • A BMD test is safe and painless
  • It measures the density of the bones
    The BMD test will also detect low bone density in its early stages predict future risk of fracture determine the rate of bone loss assists your doctor in choosing the appropriate treatment.

RISK FACTORS [1]

  • Use of steroids which can affect the amount of calcium in the body by reducing the amount absorbed by the gut and increasing the amount excreted by the kidneys thus affecting the production of bone.
  • Lack of oestrogen, for example, due to menopause or hysterectomy increases your risk as it increases bone loss.
  • Lack of weight-bearing exercise may increase your risk for calcium loss from your bones.
  • Lack of calcium or vitamin D in your diet.
  • Vitamin K containing foods such as dark green vegetables.
  • Vitamin C containing foods such as bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries,
    pineapples, etc.
  • Magnesium containing foods such as spinach, sweet potatoes, raisins, plantains, artichokes, beet greens, etc.
  • Another source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. It is recommended that one needs at least 15 minutes on sunlight exposure a day.
  • Regular exercise is needed for bone mass. Weight-bearing exercise, resistance training or strength exercise for bone density is recommended. This includes walking, running, hiking, etc. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for a
    minimum of five days per week.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol as alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin D. People who drink heavily generally do not have proper nutrition.
  • Try to avoid falls by removing loose wires, reducing clutter, removing throw rugs, putting bars in the bathroom, making sure your house is well lit, putting non-skid rubber mats in the kitchen, putting rails on staircases etc. Chances of
    getting fractures due to falls increases due to osteoporosis.
  • Stop smoking as it reduces bone density
  • Family history increases the risk due to inherited factors that affect bone development.
  • Excessive alcohol increases the risk as it will reduce the ability to make bone and increase the risk of bone breaking.
  • Excessive smoking has an increased risk as tobacco has been seen to have direct toxicity to bones. Previous fractures have been seen to increase your risk. A medical condition that affect absorption such as coeliac disease may increase your risk as calcium won’t get absorbed properly.

COMPLICATIONS [2]

  • Mobility can become limited as osteoporosis can be disabling and limit your physical activity causing you to gain weight which can then increase strain on your
    bones especially your knees and hips.
  • Weight gain can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
    and diabetes.
  • Depression can be caused by being isolated and losing independence due to limited physical activity. This is due to the fact the activities that one once
    enjoyed cause pain if tried due to osteoporosis.
  • Severe pain caused by fractures as a result of
    osteoporosis.
  • Fractures may result in loss of height, a stooping posture and persistent back, hip and neck pain.
  • Deformities are due to strain on the bones which can affect your ability to walk.

GENERAL HEALTH TIPS [1; 4]

  • Having a healthy diet is important for bone growth.
  • Foods that contain calcium, vitamin D, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, etc.
  • Calcium containing foods such as dairy products, canned sardines or salmon (with bones), turnip, kale, okra, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, etc.
  • Vitamin D containing food such as dairy products, some cereals, bread, fatty varieties such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, etc. Potassium containing foods such as tomato products, raisins, potatoes, spinach, sweet
    potatoes, bananas, prunes, papaya, etc.

Medical References

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff [Internet]. Osteoporosis. America: Mayo Clinic; [updated 2019 Jun 17; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc20351968.
  2. Driver, C.B. [Internet]. Osteoporosis. America: eMedicine Health; [updated 2016 Sep 07; cited
    2019 Aug 14]. Available from:https://www.emedicinehealth.com/slideshow_osteoarthritis_overview/article_em.htm.
  3. MacGill, M. [Internet]. What to know about osteoporosis. United Kingdom: Healthline Media; [updated 2019 Jul 22; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from:https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155646.php.
  4. Health Library [Internet]. Lifestyle changes to manage osteoporosis. America: Winchester
    Hospital; [updated 2018; cited 2019 Aug 14]. Available from: https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health
    -library/article?id=19930.