Osteoporosis weakens the body’s bones making them thin and less dense. The word osteoporosis itself means “porous bone.” And when the bones become weak, there is a higher risk of them breaking.
First, people may experience symptoms of osteoporosis in the form of bone and muscle pain, especially back pain. Others may show no signs of symptoms. A health professional will review personal and family health history. Then, a physical exam will be completed.
In spite of there not being an exact cause of osteoporosis, if an individual experiences a bone fracture or sudden back pain, the disease may then be identified and diagnosed.
Other tests may include Bone Density Tests; measures mass and volume of bone in order to find the risk of having osteoporosis, Blood Tests; measures calcium and potassium levels in the body, FRAX Score; estimates the risk of a bone fracture in a period of 10 years and X-rays; creates images onto film of tissues, bones and organs in the body.
In addition, there are several factors relating to people who may be at risk for osteoporosis. With aging, bones become weaker. Family history of bone disease may increase inheritance of osteoporosis. And after menopause, low estrogen is the main cause of bone loss in women. Because estrogen decreases after menopause, women are four times more likely to have osteoporosis than men.
Regarding prevention, there are several initiatives to be taken. Meeting daily calcium needs may include taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements. An eye and hearing exam may reduce the risk of falling and improve overall physical balance.
Tidying the home will also allow the individual to see any obstacles that may cause a fall. Installing door grab bars to the entrance of the home and in the shower offer support and stability. Moreover, placing two handrails near staircases provide balance. Making clear and well-lit pathways throughout the home and keeping important items that are used daily in close reach ultimately work to prevent falls which may lead to bone fracture.
Treatment goals for osteoporosis are decreasing overall pain, preventing bone fractures and minimizing further bone loss.
“Osteoporosis.” Cleveland Clinic, 2019, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4443-osteoporosis.
“Osteoporosis.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoporosis.
“What Medications Help Treat Osteoporosis?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 July 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/in-depth/osteoporosis-treatment/art-20046869.