Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

  • Disease of the bones wherein they become weak and brittle, and hence break easily.
  • Also known as ‘Brittle Bone Disease’
  • Fractures generally occur in the hip, spine and wrist region.
  • Hip fractures are considered to be the worst, since they can lead to permanent disability and loss of independence.
  • Osteoporosis has no early warning symptoms. However, in recent times, tests for early detection have been made available to the general public.
  • It so happens that older women bear the major brunt of this disease.
  • 1 in 4 women (over the age of 50) and 1 in 8 men (over the age of 50) have osteoporosis.

Symptoms:

  • There are no initial symptoms of the disease.
  • Later stage  symptoms comprise of:
  • Back pain
  • Bending of the spine
  • Pain in the joints especially knees, hips and ankles

Diagnosis:

  • Doctors use a special kind of x-ray test known as the ‘Bone densitometry’ test

Can Osteoporosis be prevented?

  • Yes, it can be prevented by consuming calcium rich food items in ones youth.
  • Calcium rich food items include: Milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter milk, beans, spinach, nuts and dry fruits.
  • Older people can make use of calcium tablets available in the market.
  • Regular exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis.
  • Keep away from smoking and excessive consumption of cola drinks, coffee and tea.

Treatment:

  • In the case of post-menstrual women, medicines like Calcitonin, Bisphosphonates and Vitamin D and Calcium medicines are generally prescribed.

How to avoid fractures (in case of those who are already affected by Osteoporosis)?

  • Be careful of objects that may make one trip, such as door-mats, carpets etc.
  • Avoid bending or stretching suddenly or beyond easy reach of objects to be picked up
  • Keep your corridors and staircases well-lit
  • Your bathrooms must be designed in such a way, so as to prevent water logging and slipperiness.
  • Get your eye-sight checked on a regular basis so that you do not miss a step or bump into obstacles and fall