Osteoporosis – What is it?
Osteoporosis is a type of silent disease in human beings, which is typified by the loss of the standard density of bone causing it to become fragile. This skeleton ailment makes the bone grow quite weak and in the process hikes up the possibility of its fracturing easily even during minor injuries. In Osteoporosis, the bone fracture can occur either in the form of cracking or complete collapsing. Even though Osteoporosis-associated fractures of the bone can take place in any body part, the common points are spine, hips and wrists.
The lethal feature of Osteoporosis is that a person may be suffering from this condition, but without showing any signs of symptoms for decades at a stretch. It surfaces only after the bone in the body painfully fractures and the symptoms then will depend upon the location of the fracture. For example, a fracture of the spine in Osteoporosis can give rise to acute ‘band-like’ pain, which is reported to spread out from the back to the sides of the body. Then, there’s the hip fracture that can happen due to small accidents and is hard to heal even post surgical treatment due to weak bone quality.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Developing Osteoporosis
- Female gender
- Caucasian or Asian race
- Thin and small body frames
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Personal history of fracture as an adult
- Too much alcohol consumption
- Insufficient exercise
- Low calcium diet
- Inadequate nutrition & health
- Chemotherapy (in some cases), etc.
Medical Diagnosis of Osteoporosis
Conducting an x-ray from time to time can reveal Osteoporosis of the bone. If detected, the bone will appear unusually thinner as well as lighter than normal bones. Sadly, in many cases a good portion of the bone (about 30 per cent) is already lost by the time x-ray detects Osteoporosis. The problem is accentuated by the fact that x-rays are reported to be ‘not’ a very precise pointer of bone density. This is because the x-ray picture of the bone is many a times affected by the variation in the amount of exposure of the x-ray film. Medical associations, therefore, suggest use of dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan (DXA) instead.
People Who Need to Undergo Bone Density Testing
- Postmenopausal women less than 65 years of age
- Women aged 65 years and older
- Postmenopausal women with fractures, even though this is not compulsory as treatment may have already begun
- Women suffering from medical conditions related to Osteoporosis.
- Women whose decision to use medication might be assisted by bone density testing.