The word ‘osteo’ comes from the Greek word for bone, the name osteoporosis literally means ‘porous bones’. The condition of Osteoporosis is where the bones become weakened and more prone to fractures. It most commonly affects the wrists, hip and spine, although other areas such as the hands and knee can be affected. Osteopenia, a condition which causes low bone density, is a similar but less severe condition. Osteoporosis is sometimes confused with osteoarthritis, as the names re similar. It is quite a common disease in the UK as over 3 million people are affected by it. While this condition is usually associated with post-menopausal women, it has been know to affect men anad children.
Osteoporosis develops slowly over time, so it many suffers do not know they have it until they have an accident. However, many sufferers develop a stoop due to spinal fractures that they are unaware of.
There are various factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis, including genetics, age and gender. It is more common among women, as women have smaller bones and the menopause reduces bone protection. The risk also increases with age and for those with rheumatoid arthritis and those who smoke. There is a simple scan available that can help to determine whether a person is at risk of osteoporosis.
It is possible to prevent osteoporosis by building healthy bones. A good intake of calcium vitamin D is needed for strong bones. Calcium is found in dairy products, but vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but supplements are also available. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can also help. Also, exercising regularly can help prevent you from getting Osteoporosis. Try and do at least two and half hours of aerobic activity a week.
Medication is available for osteoporosis treatment. A rheumatology specialist will be able to monitor the condition and establish the best treatment.
A medical professional will be able to advise you on your level of osteoporosis risk, as well as recommending lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition. There is also plenty of information available online regarding steps that you can take to reduce the risks, including having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, giving up smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
There are also online forums and discussion boards where the condition can be discussed using the experiences of other patients.
- Osteoporosis causes fragile bones.
- Lifestyle changes can prevent the condition.
- There are medications available to treat the condition.