Old age brings along many diseases with it. Most older people are victims of high blood pressure, diabetes, hearing problems, heart attack, arthritis and many more health conditions. One of the newest member to this list is Osteoporosis. This disease mainly affects women who are past menopause stage.
Lack of regular exercise, physical activities, adapting to western lifestyle are considered to be major contributing factors for this condition.
What is meant by Osteoporosis?
Bones gives our body its basic framework. It keeps our internal organs in place. It works along with our body muscles and makes various motions and movements possible. For this, our bones rebuilds itself with new cells every few days. During this time period, old bone cells die off and give room for new cells to be formed. This cycle usually takes place very rapidly while we are young. But, as we age, this process starts to slow down gradually. Normally, this process starts to slow down after 35 years of age. Sometimes new cells fail to replace the gap left out by the old cells. When this happens it leads to the reduction in bone mass. We call this condition as “Osteopenia”.
After 50 years of age, the bone mass will undergo a drastic change. This will leave little porous zones in the bone structure. When this happens, the bones will lose its strength and the person will have difficulties in day to day activities. It can lead to pain in hands and legs. Sometimes it can even lead to fracture. We call this condition as Osteoporosis.
There are many reasons as to why bones lose its mass and density. In men, it can happen due to the reduction in the levels of testosterone hormone. In women, it can happen past menopause, when the secretion of estrogen hormone comes to a complete halt. Apart from these reasons, it can also happen due to smoking, drinking, drug addiction, obesity, and thyroid problems.
It can even happen due to genetic reasons. It can also happen when a person doesn’t intake nutritious food for longer time period leading to calcium and Vitamin-D deficiency. Calcium and Vitamin-D are very important for our bone strength. So when a person has Vitamin-D or calcium deficiency, he becomes more vulnerable to Osteoporosis disease.
Similarly, it can also happen to people who do not have enough physical activities, regular exercise, who take medications and steroids for various bodily problems. Skinny people usually have weak bones, so the onset of Osteoporosis disease can take place at a much earlier age for these people. Additionally, this problem can also happen due to an extreme activity of adrenal and parathyroid hormones.
Osteoporosis goes on unnoticed for many years, it is usually unveiled when there is an occurrence of fracture. Unlike common fractures which involve accidents, people with Osteoporosis disease will have fracture without any external reasons. It is one of the unique aspects of this disease. This type of fracture usually happens in hip, backbone, and knee joints.
How to Find out this disease?
People who have crossed 40 years of age can undergo a scan test called “Dexa scan” to find out its presence. This test detects the Bone Mineral Density (BMD). So it will reveal the condition of your bones before a fracture happens. This test is usually measured in T Score. When this level is in-between +1 SD and -1 SD, it means your bones are normal and healthy. If the value is in-between -1 SD and -2.5 SD it is an indication of Osteopenia disease. If it is lesser than -2.5 SD then it is a clear indication of Osteoporosis disease.
So this test will clearly point out the exact condition of a person’s bone. It will also reveal if the present treatment the person is undergoing has any impact on the bone strength.
What is the treatment?
Normally older people undergo calcium and Vitamin-D deficiency. So this condition will be the initial part of the treatment. A person needs around 500 to 1000 mg of calcium per day. This can be supplied through supplements. Additionally, a person can take Vitamin-D supplements at the range of 2000 units per day. Else, he/she can take a single tablet which contains 60,000 units of Vitamin-D once a week for a period of six weeks. After this, the dosage can be reduced to 1 tablet of 60,000 units per month.
There are also vaccines available for this disease. Bisphosphonate type medicines such as Aledronate, Bandronate, and Zoledronic acid are usually used for treating Osteoporosis. These medications can be used with Doctor’s advice. For some women, Doctor’s might suggest for Hormone Replacement Therapy. However, this therapy is found to increase the probabilities for cervical cancer in women. So proceed with caution.
What is the Latest Treatment?
Recently a research team from Alabama University in England has invented a new medicine for Osteoporosis. They call this medicine as “Romosozumab”. All medicines that belong to Bisphosphonate type treated Osteoporosis condition by stopping the cell damage. On the contrary, this new medicine will trigger the formation of new bone cells, so it ultimately zeros down any possibilities of further loss of bone density. So it is more effective in controlling the disease. It has already got the attention of many countries across the world. So you will soon find your Doctor using this new medicine for treating Osteoporosis. Some people even consider this medicine as a wish come true for many women who want to avoid Hormone Replacement Therapy.