Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bones that increases the risk of unexpected fractures. Some serious consequences of the condition include weakness of bones and risk of bone breakage. In short, we can say that it is a condition characterized by a decrease in the bone density and strength that ultimately result in fragile bones. Osteoporosis literally leads to a porous bone that is compressible like a sponge. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone and results in frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption. The body may fail to form new bone sufficiently or too much old bone may be resorbed, or both.
There are two essential minerals calcium and phosphate for normal bone formation. Throughout youth, the body uses these two minerals to produce bones. Calcium is essential for proper functioning of the brain, heart, and other organs. To keep these critical organs functioning, the body reabsorbs calcium stored in the bones to maintain the level of blood calcium. If calcium intake is not sufficient or if the body does not absorb enough calcium from the daily diet, bone production, and bone tissue may suffer. The bones thus become weaker resulting in fragile and brittle bones that can break easily.
Usually, the bone loss occurs over an extended period of years. Often, a person will sustain a fracture before becoming aware of the presence of a disease. By then, the disease can be in its advanced stages and the damage may be serious.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
The following are the risk factors of Osteoporosis-
Early detection of low bone mass or osteoporosis is the most important step for an effective treatment. If osteoporosis is diagnosed, a person can take action to stop the progression of bone loss. It is important to know the risk factors for osteoporosis in order to begin effective prevention or treatment.
Certain factors such as family history of osteoporosis, being female, small body size, and inactive lifestyle are associated with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. If any of above risk factors or other signs of osteoporosis exists, the doctor will recommend measurement of bone mass. The most common sites of fractures due to osteoporosis disease are the spine, wrist, and hip. Bone mineral density (BMD) tests often measure the solidness and bone density at those sites, as well as in the heel or hand. Bone mineral density tests are performed just like X-rays. They are noninvasive, painless and safe.
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or you are having a higher risk of breaking a bone, your doctor will suggest medication to strengthen your bones and prevent fractures. Prescribed medicine/drugs play a vital role in managing osteoporosis.
Your doctor will also advise you:
Tablets (daily, weekly or monthly): Risedronate (brand name: Actonel, or other generic brands), Alendronate (brand name: Fosamax, or other generic brands), once-yearly intravenous infusion: Zoledronic acid (brand name: Aclasta).
6 monthly or half yearly injection: Denosumab (brand name: Prolia)
Daily based tablet: Raloxifene (brand name: Evista)
Osteoporosis Drugs Side Effects
The ostensible reason behind taking osteoporosis drugs is to decrease the chances that one of your bones will break. However, the intake of the drugs can cause a breakage.
Atypical femoral fractures are the most known break associated with osteoporosis drugs. As we all know femur is the strongest bone in our body. Under normal conditions, it does not simply snap. But when it has been made brittle and hard by drugs, it can break even when you are doing simple, everyday things.
The list of debilitating and most annoying side effects of the drugs also include blurred vision, joint pain, nausea, flatulence, muscle pain and abdominal cramping. So, before taking these medications, you must consult your doctor about the dosage and other related information briefly.
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