Osteoporosis is found to be most common in women who have reached menopause. This is due to the connection between bone tissue rebuilding and estrogen
As one grows old, it is natural to grow weaker. However, that weakness should not leave you confined indoors. It is essential to stay alert to the changes in your body. Eating right and working out regularly keeps you fit. Consulting with your family doctor periodically is also essential for early diagnosis of illnesses related to aging. Osteoporosis can affect anyone but it’s most often seen in elderly people because the disease affects bones and as you age, your bones get weaker, making you more susceptible to the condition.
WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Put simply, Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bone density reduces making it brittle. A healthy bone under the microscope looks like a honeycomb. When the holes and spaces in this honeycomb structure are much larger, it is indicative of osteoporosis.
Bone is constantly being broken down and rebuilt all through one’s life. When you consume food rich in calcium, vitamin D and potassium, the body uses these nutrients to build bone mass. The building and strengthening of bones continue till the mid-30s. After this age, bone density gradually reduces. However, in some people this process happens faster and with even less scope for rebuilding of the bone tissue. This renders the bones weaker and extremely brittle. This condition is termed as Osteoporosis.
WHO IS AT RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS?
This condition can affect anyone irrespective of race or gender. However, it is found to be most common in women who have reached menopause. This is due to the connection between bone tissue rebuilding and estrogen. Post menopause, there is a lower production of estrogen and this reduces bone density. A lack of estrogen in younger women can also lead to osteoporosis for the same reason.
Non-gender related factors that increase risk of Osteoporosis:
DIAGNOSIS OF OSTEOPOROSIS
Most often osteoporosis is diagnosed only after a bone fracture. However, a fracture means substantial loss of bone density, making the recovery process a long and difficult one. Hence if you are in the risk category, especially if you have a family history of the disease, it’s best to consult with the doctor on what can be done to improve bone health.
One of the ways to find out whether you have osteoporosis is by getting a bone mineral density (BMD) test. A BMD test uses a special machine to measure how much bone mineral you have in a certain area of bone. A bone density test can help determine if you have weak bones or osteoporosis before you break a bone. It is also done while undergoing treatment for osteoporosis to check if the bone density is improving and to ensure the osteoporosis medicine is working.
There is no one single, standard method to treat osteoporosis. Treatment varies from one individual to the next depending on the following factors:
HOW TO IMPROVE BONE HEALTH AND PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS?
Irrespective of whether you are at risk of osteoporosis or not, maintaining good bone health is good as you age. All it takes are some healthy lifestyle choices:
Osteoporosis can creep up on you silently, with no symptoms at all. It is best to get screened for the condition when you hit 50. Stay ahead of the disease by making healthy choices and discussing with your healthcare provider about medical tests to help diagnose the disease earlier on.
CHIEF CONSULTANT – ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON
MBBS, DIPLOMATE IN ORTHOPEDICS, MS (ORTHOPEDICS), Mch (ORTHO)