It is a condition in which there is reduced bone mass and density. This leads to weakness and easy breakage. It is more common in women and is a major cause of death and orthopaedic (bone specialist) visits.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
Primary osteoporosis (age-related deterioration): As you age, our risk of developing this disease increases. In addition, the rates of occurrence are higher in women than in men. If you have a parent or two who had osteoporosis, your chances of getting it are higher. Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, alcohol intake smoking, low weight, sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Secondary osteoporosis- This occurs as a result of other conditions like sickle cell disease, diabetes, hypertension, irregular periods, early menopause, HIV/AIDs, polio, liver and kidney disease, breast cancer. People with these conditions are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis
Some medications including those used to treat cancer, seizures, ulcers may also cause bone degeneration.
Fractures of the wrist, hip or spine are among the most common. People with this condition may also notice backache. They may also experience a gradual loss of height and bent posture (giving credence to the phrase 'little old lady' due to the crush fracture of the bones of the spine)
This is based on history and clinical examination. Tests your doctor would order include bone densitometry (DEXA scan), blood tests, tests for secondary causes if the history points to these. X-rays are used to confirm the presence of this disease but only after the fracture has occurred.
Minerals like bisphosphonates like zoledronic acid which slow down the degeneration of bone.
Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
Hormone Replacement Therapy- used for post-menopausal women
Reduction of alcohol intake
Weight-bearing exercise to increase bone density.
Balance exercises to reduce the frequency of falls.
Diet rich in Calcium and Vitamin D such as milk, fish, green leafy vegetables.
Home-based assistance for elderly people.
Hormone replacement therapy.
Even though this disease sets in in the elderly years, there are some lifestyle changes you can start making from now to minimize your risk of getting it when you are older. Avoiding smoking and cutting back on alcohol intake helps to reduce your risk of getting osteoporosis.
Another way to prevent this is to eat a rich and balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin. Be sure to include fish, milk, green leafy vegetables etc in your food. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. Take short breaks at work to exercise your legs. Lastly, do your best to avoid undue strain on your legs.