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Osteoporosis

Women Health
Contributed by : Rajini

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Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the amount of Bone mass decreases causing the bones to be fragile and easily fractured.

Women are more prone to this situation than men.
It is estimated that about 1 out of 5 American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. About half of all women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist, or vertebra (bones of the spine).

Women over age 50 and men over age 70 have a higher risk for osteoporosis. Between the age of 20 to 30 human body builds more bone than we lose, reaching peak density between 25 and 30. Since bone mass begins declining after 30, it is essential to build as much strength as possible at this age. It is advisable to take 1000 milligrams of calcium and 800 (IU) of Vitamin D everyday and do weight bearing exercise regularly.

Calcium and phosphate are essential for normal bone formation. If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium then bone production and bone tissues may suffer.
As you grow old, bones may give the calcium and phosphate back into the making the bone tissue weaker. This can result in brittle, fragile bones that are very prone to fractures, even without injury.

Usually, the loss occurs gradually over years. Many times, a person will have a fracture before becoming aware that the disease is present. By the time a fracture occurs, the disease is in its advanced stages and damage is severe.

Causes
The leading causes of osteoporosis are a drop in estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a drop in testosterone in men.

Other causes include:
Vitamin D deficiency
Low calcium in the diet
Low body weight
Chronic rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders
Taking corticosteroid medications (prednisone, methylprednisolone) every day for more than 3 months, or taking some antiseizure drugs
Hyperparathyroidism
Premature menopause (before 45)
Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) for long periods of time
Drinking a large amount of alcohol
Smoking
Family history of osteoporosis
History of hormone treatment for prostate cancer or breast cancer

Symptoms

Generally there are no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. At a later stage following symptoms can occur:
Bone pain or tenderness
Fractures
Loss of height (as much as 6 inches) over time
Lower back pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
Neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
Stooped posture or kyphosis, also called a "dowager''s hump"

Preventing
Weight -bearing exercise
Diet rich in calcium, Vitamin D and other minerals
No smoking
Avoid excessive alcohol
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective preventive treatment but is not suitable for all women

Detection
You can detect Osteoporosis by taking Bone-Density test called DEXA. It is a painless, quick x-ray method.

First screening is advised when you are 40 years old. The a screening is recommended about one year after the start of menopause. Age 51 to 55 or five years after menopause are the prime time for preventive measures. During this period we lose up to 15% of our bone mass.

 

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