Osteoporosis is a disease that results in weakness and brittleness of bones in the human body to an extent that a fall or even mild stress like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Commonly, fractures which are linked with Osteoporosis appear in the hip, wrist or spine. Osteoporosis comes in the picture when the creation of a new bone doesn’t pace up with the loss of an old bone.
Although Osteoporosis occurs in both men and women. However, elder women are at a higher risk, leading women to four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
Usually, there are no known symptoms of Osteoporosis but since bone is a living tissue that is persistently broken down and replaced. You might have signs and symptoms once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis including :
- When a bone breaks much more easily than expected
- Pain in lower back
- Loss of height over time
- A curved shape of the spine, causing a stooped or bending forward posture
- Difficulty in breathing
A number of factors can increase the chance that you’ll develop osteoporosis — including your age, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments.
Mentioned below are some causes of Osteoporosis :
- Hormone levels – Osteoporosis is mostly common in people who either have too less or too more hormone levels in their body. Few of them could be Sex Hormones, Thyroid problems, Other glands etc.
- Dietary factors – Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have: Low calcium intake, eating disorders, gastrointestinal surgery.
- Steroids and other medications – Osteoporosis has also been associated with medications used to fight medical conditions like Seizure, Cancer, Gastroesophageal Reflux etc.
- Lifestyle Choices – Some terrible lifestyle habits can grow your chances of Osteoporosis. Inactive Lifestyle, Excessive alcohol consumption, Tobacco use are few of the examples of bad lifestyle choices.
In order to check your bone health, Your bone density can be measured by a machine that uses low levels of X-rays to determine the proportion of minerals in your bones. During this painless test, you lie on a padded table as a scanner passes over your body. In most cases, only certain bones are checked, usually in the spine and hip.
For the treatment of Osteoporosis, the healthcare expert would advise you if your risk isn’t high, treatment might not include medication and might focus instead on modifying risk factors for bone loss and falls.
Bisphosphonates are the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications for both men and women at an increased risk of fracture. Few of which include as follows :
- Zoledronic acid
Some of the side effects include nausea, abdominal pain and heartburn like signs and symptoms which are less likely to occur if the medicine is taken properly. One of the very infrequent complications of bisphosphonates is a break in the middle of the thigh bone. Followed by, another infrequent or rare complication involves delay in healing of the jawbone which is mostly a result of removing a tooth.
Denosumab produces similar or even better bone density results than bisphosphonates which reduces the chance of all types of fractures. Denosumab is delivered using a shot under the skin every period of six months. Similarly as bisphosphonates, denosumab has the same rare complex of breaking and cracking of the thigh bone and osteonecrosis of the jaw. If you inject denosumab, you might need to continue doing so indefinitely. The latest analysis and research shows there could be high chances of risk of spinal column fractures after putting a pause on the drug.
Hormone Related Therapy
Estrogen, especially when started soon after menopause, can help maintain bone density. However, estrogen therapy can increase the risk of breast cancer and blood clots, which can cause strokes. Therefore, estrogen is typically used for bone health in younger women or in women whose menopausal symptoms also require treatment.
Testosterone replacement therapy can help out in refining symptoms of low testosterone, but osteoporosis medications have been better studied in men to treat osteoporosis and thus are recommended alone or in addition to testosterone.
Bone Building Medications
If you have serious and severe osteoporosis symptoms, your doctor might suggest you to take the following into consideration :
- Teriparatide (Bonsity, Forteo): Similar to parathyroid, this drug is quite powerful and stimulates new bone growth. The injection is given daily under the skin for upto two consecutive years.
- Abaloparatide (Tymlos). Another similar drug to parathyroid hormone, however, this drug can be consumed for two years only.
The latest bone-building medication to treat osteoporosis is Romosozumab. It is given an injection every month at your doctor’s office and it can be given upto an year of treatment only. Once you stop taking any of these bone – building medications, you will be required to take another osteoporosis drug to maintain the new bone growth.