Osteoporosis is a condition involving the decrease in bone density. Osteoporosis affects one in six women and one in eight men over the age of 50. It is commonly found among post-menopausal women. Osteoporosis is often the cause of many health complications because the disease can progress without significant signs or symptoms. Over time, osteoporosis can result in bone loss and pain, fracture and deformation of bones .
The risk factors for osteoporosis are often known and include:
• being a female
• age of over 50
• prolonged hormonal imbalances
• excessive use of certain drugs such as steroids
• deficiency of calcium or vitamin D
• lack of exercise
• being Caucasian
• medical history in which there are many fractures
• family history
• smoking and excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
It is important to prevent bone loss early, so you can enjoy healthy bones, even at an advanced age.
Tests and diagnosis
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will consider your complete medical history and then ask for a specific test, especially for the evaluation of bone density tests. During the exam, the doctor will consider:
• the age and sex of the patient, if the patient is or not on menopause (if the patient is female), when they suffered a fracture as an adult, family history and lifestyle information
• information about drugs used by the patient
• test results to measure bone density
• any change in physiognomy and weight.
Following these tests your doctor will evaluate the results and determine if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Currently, there are many medications that can help patients with osteoporosis. These drugs help maintain bone density and reduce fracture risk. Examples of such drugs include:
• alendronate sodium
• zoledronic acid.
Other options for drugs that protect against bone loss include:
– In very painful cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers.
– Physical therapy can help relieve symptoms of osteoporosis and can help you learn how to move properly, without increasing the risk of fractures.
Effective ways to prevent osteoporosis
The bones continuously renew themselves and for this process to occur the body needs certain nutrients.
– Calcium. Calcium is essential for bone building. Therefore, you must ensure that your diet includes foods that contain enough calcium to prevent deficiency.
– Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health because it helps bones absorb calcium from the body. Vitamin D is synthesized by the human body after sun exposure and can be assimilated from food. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400-800 IU, depending on the season.
– Vitamin K. Research in this field shows that vitamin K reduces the risk of bone loss. Researchers found that vitamin K helps maintaining the bones’ health.