What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones. Bones become fragile and can break more easily than usual, especially bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. Anybody can develop osteoporosis; however, it is most common in white, small, and thin older women, especially those with a family history of it. A person may not know they have this disease until they break a bone. 

How can Osteoporosis affect you?

While most bones break due to falls, osteoporosis weakens the bones to the point that a break can occur much more easily. A person without osteoporosis may break bones usually due to traumatic injuries such as a bike accident or falling down the stairs. However, a person with osteoporosis can break their bones just by coughing or bumping into something. And once the bone breaks, it is much harder for it to heal and the pain may not go away. 

How to diagnose Osteoporosis?

Screening for osteoporosis is important in order to find out who has it and can, therefore, take precautionary measures. It is recommended for women who are 65 years old or older and for women who are 50 to 64 and have certain risk factors to begin screening. The FRAX Risk Assessment tool may be used to find out if you should begin screening. Screening is done using a bone mineral density test, which provides a snapshot of your bone health. To learn more about the bone mineral density test and what it means, click here

How to manage Osteoporosis?

The main drugs to treat osteoporosis are called bisphosphonates. They are found to help slow down bone loss. However, bisphosphonates may have serious side effects if not taken correctly, so make sure to speak to your doctor before taking these drugs. Vitamin D and Calcium are also found to decrease the progression of the disease. Selective estrogen receptor modulators, such as Raloxifene, is used in post-menopausal women to reduce the progression and may even be protective against breast cancer. Besides the drugs a person can take to slow down the disease, exercising is very important for treating and preventing osteoporosis, as well. Not only can exercising improve bone health, but it can also increase muscle strength, coordination, and balance, leading to better overall health.

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