Osteoporosis: Not the Inevitable

“A hip fracture can be the beginning of the end for an older person. Screening for osteoporosis is just as important as screening mammography,” said by Dr. Merlin Wilson, an Uptown rheumatologist who treats patients with osteoporosis. This is mostly true; those who develop osteoporosis end up feeling like there is nothing left to do for them. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone tissue, resulting in bones that are brittle and susceptible to fracture. Most of those who have osteoporosis do not even realize they have it, which can be severe because in an instant you could carelessly get a spinal fracture that is recoverable. In the U.S. alone there are over 850,000 fractures occurring each year due to osteoporosis. Not only can osteoporosis make your bones brittle, but because they are brittle, there can be a loss in height, permanent back pains plus an odd outward curve of the back called kyphosis. Here there will be listed the many causes of osteoporosis, how to help osteoporosis and prevention of developing osteoporosis.

 

Osteoporosis has many causes some of which can be your gender, age (though age is a cause, it does not mean osteoporosis is inevitable), race, family history, exposure to estrogen and even certain medications. Around 25 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis; most of these being females after age 30 are very susceptible towards getting osteoporosis. It affects half the population of woman of age 50; yet, that is not to say men do not get osteoporosis either because they do, just at a substantially lower rate. Only about 15 percent of all older men have osteoporosis by age 75. About 1.5 million men in the U.S. have osteoporosis with 3.5 million men at a great risk for developing osteoporosis.  Along with gender, race is a variable factor also. Most Caucasians and Hispanic and Latino are more likely to get osteoporosis than a black person or an Asiatic person would. Family history is an inevitable cause also. If someone in your family, your mother, sister; anyone, were to have osteoporosis it would increase your likelihood to gaining it also. Another big cause would be a lifetime limited exposure to estrogen. A woman who has had a limited amount of exposure towards estrogen will have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis than a woman who has a late menopause or begins her menstrual cycles at an earlier age. Lastly, certain medicines will heighten the risk of developing osteoporosis in your later days. Mostly long-term usage medications can cause this which includes corticosteroid medications like prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone. Out of all these causes gender is still the key cause.

 

There are many ways out there to help with osteoporosis. One method is hormone replacement therapy (HTC), also known as estrogen replacement therapy. Women who begin this therapy end up taking estrogen into their body to increase bone density by about 10 percent in the spinal region and around 5 percent in the hip. Within five years, a University of Pittsburgh study shows, it reduces the risk of nonspinal fractures by 50 percent and also the risk of wrist and hip fractures by a total of 71 percent. Even though HTC is a very good benefactor in osteoporosis, it comes with a downside as well. Women who use HTC have an increased risk for strokes, heart attacks and even breast cancer. HTC may also increase the risk of gallstones and stimulate the growth of uterine tumors. This is all caused from having such a hormone intake from practicing HTC. However, many alternatives have been produced instead of using estrogen as the main way of gaining bone mass back. Didronel was the first medication developed for the benefit of a safer treatment to osteoporosis yet, the positive effects are time-limited. Fosamax was a well-promoted drug for osteoporosis. It decreased the risk of a spinal fracture by an amazing 90 percent. Still, there were some harsh side effects if you were to take Fosamax incorrectly; things such as irritation of the esophagus and heartburn. Evista (a “designer-drug”), can
increase bone density and, unlike HTC, it decreases the risk of developing breast cancer. The side effects are hot flashes, leg cramps and fluid retention. This first-line treatment for women with osteoporosis can even help lower cholesterol such as estrogen can. There are many ways to help out with osteoporosis, but there are just as many way to prevent osteoporosis from even happening to begin with.

 

As always, osteoporosis, as many other ailments, is a preventable cause. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that 1,200 milligrams of dietary calcium and 400-800 international units of vitamin D should somehow be consumed or absorbed daily. Calcium helps your bones become denser and for bone mass to also increase. A good way to provide the daily amount is just to drink a few glasses of milk each day and if not, take calcium supplements. Vitamin D is necessary for production of new bones and long with calcium and for success of osteoporosis medication. A good way to get vitamin D is through sunlight or, again, taking supplements also helps. You can also prevent osteoporosis if you quit smoking and limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Do not take any unnecessary medications for a long amount of time. Lastly, exercise regularly and maintain a well-balanced diet.

 

This concludes how osteoporosis can develop, what medications can help with osteoporosis and how to help prevent osteoporosis. Many causes of osteoporosis have been discovered from gender to age to hormone intake. There are also many ways osteoporosis can be help whether it is from prescription drugs to an increase in hormone intake. Lastly, there are many ways in which one can prevent osteoporosis from developing early and severely such as eating correct, exercising regularly and getting a daily intake of vitamin D and calcium. Still, there is always a way to help out the cause of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is not inevitable; it is avoidable.

 

Does anyone in your family have osteoporosis? Do you know how someone having osteoporosis around you could affect your life? What can you do to help it?

2 thoughts on “Osteoporosis: Not the Inevitable

  1. Very interseting topic, i enjoyed reading it(: You can tell you put alot of time into this and i enjoyed all the details(: I’m proud of you! (:

  2. I do not have anyone in my family that has Osteoporosis but I myself am at serious risk to get it. Being Lactose Intolerant makes you at serious risk for Osteoporosis because you cannot take in the amount of calcium you need without getting sick. I do not think I have had a glass of milk in over 7 years. I was diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance when I was an infant and have lived with it my whole life. Because dairy made my stomach upset-especially straight milk- I did not like the taste of it and could not bring myself to drink it. The average teenager with Lactose Intolerance needs 1,300 mg of calcium in order to develop properly and not develop Osteoporosis. In order to help me not develop this disease and get my full amount of calcium, I must take calcium vitamins every day, or eat a lot of dairy for the day. I’m very glad that I have Lactose Intolerance during this day in medicine because back when my mom and grandmother had it, there was no pills to take before you ate in order to help you digest the Lactose and not get sick. The pills help me not become sick when I eat, and let me get enough calcium in my diet for the day. Fortunately, you can grow out of Lactose Intolerance, and I have been getting better each year, and now can eat one dinner with cheese base (pizza, mac n cheese) without getting sick. My doctors will monitor my calcium intake until I am old and gray to make sure I do not develop Osteoporosis.

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