Basically, osteoporosis means porous bones. In the Greek it translates as "passages through bones." (This makes perfect sense if you look at the images of osteoporotic bone as opposed to normal bone.) Osteoporosis is a silent disease in that there is no physical sensation associated with it. Some people experience back, neck, or joint pain with fractures, but most do not. Even so, Americans experience 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures per year.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Causes of osteoporosis are heredity and lifestyle. Whites and Asians, tall and thin women and those with a history of osteoporosis are those at the highest risk of getting osteoporosis. The behavioral causes of increasing the risk of osteoporosis are smoking, alcohol abuse, prolonged inactivity and a diet low in calcium. There are also some diseases that are associated with aging that cause osteoporosis, which include kidney failure, liver disease, cancers, Paget's disease, endocrine or glandular diseases, gonadal failure and rheumatoid arthritis. There are some medications like steroids, seizure drugs, thyroid hormone and blood thinners that are also found to cause osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
In the beginning of the disease no symptoms of the disease are seen because osteoporosis doesn't cause symptoms unless bone fractures. Some osteoporosis fractures may escape detection until years later. Patient may not be aware of the disease until they experience painful fracture. Typical osteoporosis fractures occur in hip, vertebral column and wrist. These types of fractures can cause acute radiculopathic pains in the back. Multiple vertebral fractures can cause loss of height and defect in posture.
Back pain, which can be severe if you have a fractured or collapsed vertebra.
Loss of height over time, with an accompanying stooped posture.
Having Osteoporosis symptoms means that your bones will become very brittle and that without to much effort your bones will break or fracture. A simple fall or a knock can break things like your leg bones, hip bones, and wrist bones.
Osteoporosis symptoms are usually very hard to detect and in most cases the first you will know about whether you have Osteoporosis or not is when you end up in hospital due to a broken or fractured bone.
Treatment of Osteoporosis
Treatment for osteoporosis is hormone replacement therapy, where drugs are used to restore estrogen and progesterone levels that are lost due to menopause. However, it should be remembered that long-term use of HRT is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. Calcitonin is another hormone that breaks down a bone; its supplements are injected for treatment of osteoporosis. Biphosphates are injected as a treatment to decrease the effects of osteoclasts, which leads to less bone breaking down, without a decrease in bone density. This is ideally taken daily, once a week or once monthly. Those past menopause who do not take HRT take an oral medication of Raloxifene, which acts like estrogen in some parts of the body without actually causing a general estrogen effect.