Osteoporosis: What is this Age-related Disease?

No less than 2.5 to 3.5 million women have osteoporosis. It is a bone disease that progresses with age, with more or less important consequences depending on the person. It is characterized by different symptoms and can improve only by stabilizing the course of the disease.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects 1 in 8 women compared to 1 in 4 men. Bones lose density and undergo architectural modification due to their weakening. During life, bones go through a process of cell destruction and reconstruction.

This process involves two cells: osteoclasts, which destroy old bones, and osteoblasts that renew bones. Up to 45 years, this balance of destruction and renewal of bones works without difficulty, but beyond this age, we notice a decrease in this process, particularly the reconstruction of the bone.

What are the causes of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is linked to age because it appears after menopause in women and progresses with age.

During menopause, the body experiences hormonal imbalance. The production of estrogen and androgen reduces while these hormones actively take part in bone building. This is the main cause, but other factors are also responsible for weakening the bones, such as vitamin D deficiency.

This vitamin has a very important role in the formation of bones. It serves as a fixator of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus on the bones.

Extreme thinness, early menopause, and a genetic predisposition are also factors favorable to the development of this disease. Intense treatment with corticosteroids and lack of physical activity can result in osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms?

Osteoporosis is not painful, but the weakening of the bones mainly causes three types of fractures: fracture of the wrist, vertebrae, and neck of the femur. To differentiate them from normal fractures, we note that a simple shock can cause a fracture.

The fracture of the vertebrae is manifested by a compression of the vertebrae. You can undergo a bone densitometry exam to diagnose the disease.

What are the treatments?

New eating habits, in particular, can contribute to the quality of bones by favoring foods containing more calcium. Sun exposure is good for vitamin D as well as physical activity that helps develop a good balance to avoid falls.

There are drugs that doctors can prescribe to stop the damage to the bones.

The goal is to stabilize bone degeneration and avoid fractures that will cause discomfort or even disability if the elderly person breaks the femoral neck.

If this disease mainly affects women from the age of 65, osteoporosis can also affect men. Physical activity from a young age and during adolescence can prevent disease by building bone mass.

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