Everything You Need To Know About Osteoporosis

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Osteoporosis is a disorder that affects bones. The term ‘osteoporosis’ comes from the Latin word for porous bones. Bones contain tiny spaces, like honeycombs. As a result of osteoporosis, the bone becomes weaker and more prone to fractures. Additionally, the outside of the bone becomes thinner and weaker.


Osteoporosis can affect anyone, but it is particularly prevalent among older women.


Standing or walking are routine activities that can lead to fractures, or broken bones, for people with osteoporosis. In most cases, ribs, hips, wrists, and spines are affected.


What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis does not show any symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Most people with osteoporosis are unaware of the condition until they break a bone.

  • When symptoms do appear, some of the earlier ones may include:

  • Gum recession

  • Weakened grip power

  • Brittle, weak nails

Even if you don't have symptoms but have a family history of osteoporosis, talking to your doctor or pharmacist can help you assess your risk.


Having Severe Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis can worsen without proper treatment. The risk of fracture increases as bones thin and weaken. Severe osteoporosis can lead to fractures resulting from falls or even from sneezing or coughing. Back and neck pain, as well as loss of height can also occur.


You can experience back or neck pain or lose height due to compression fractures. Essentially, this is a fracture in one of the vertebrae of your neck or back, which is too weak to withstand the pressure of your spine.


How long it will take to heal a fracture from osteoporosis will depend on many factors. When consulting your doctor or pharmacist, you will also have to provide information about your age and health history, as well as the location and severity of the fracture.


The Cause Of Osteoporosis


Some medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, can cause osteoporosis. There are also some medications that can lead to osteoporosis in the long-run.


Prednisone and cortisone are examples of long-term oral or injected corticosteroids.


Risk Factors


Age

Age is one of the major risk factors of osteoporosis. A person's body grows new bone and breaks down old bone throughout their lifetime. During your 30s, however, your body begins to break down bone more quickly than it can replace it. Bones become less dense and more fragile as a result, making them more prone to breaking.


Menopause

Menopause, which occurs in women aged 45 to 55, is another primary risk factor. Menopause can accelerate bone loss in a woman's body due to the change in hormone levels associated with it. Men continue to lose bone at this age, but at a slower pace than women. Nevertheless, men and women are usually losing bone at the same rate by the time they reach the age of 65 to 70.


Other risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • having a family history of osteoporosis

  • physical inactivity

  • poor nutrition

  • low body weight

  • smoking

  • small-boned structure

Poor nutrition and inactivity are some of the factors that contribute to osteoporosis. By improving your diet and starting an exercise program, you can improve your bone health. In contrast, other factors, such as age and gender, are beyond your control.


Treatment For Osteoporosis


When you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Your doctor may recommend medications as well as lifestyle changes. Getting adequate exercise and increasing calcium and vitamin D intake can be some of the lifestyle changes you can make.


Bones can be protected and strengthened with proper treatment, but there is no cure for osteoporosis. In addition to slowing the breakdown of bones, some of these treatments can promote the growth of new bone.


By using BusyMed, you can also consult with your nearest pharmacist to seek medical advice.


Medication For Osteoporosis


Most osteoporosis patients are treated with bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates prevent bone loss and they are either injected or taken orally. Among them are:

  • ibandronate (Boniva)

  • risedronate (Actonel)

  • alendronate (Fosamax)

  • zoledronic acid (Reclast)


There are other medications available to prevent or stimulate bone growth. These include:


Hormone therapy

In women, estrogen can help to stop bone density loss after menopause. Sadly, estrogen therapy can also increase the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.


Testosterone

This type of treatment may increase bone density in men.


Denosumab (Prolia)

This drug is taken by injection and may prove even more promising than bisphosphonates at reducing bone loss.


Raloxifene (Evista)

Although there is still an increased risk of blood clots, this medication has been found to provide the same benefits as estrogen with fewer risks.


Teriparatide (Forteo)

This drug is also taken by injection and stimulates bone growth.


Calcitonin salmon (Fortical and Miacalcin)

This drug is taken as a nasal spray and reduces bone reabsorption. Talk to your doctor about any increased risk of cancer with this drug.


Romosozumab (Evenity)

This medication was approved by the FDA in April of 2019 to treat women who have gone through menopause and are at a high risk of having fractures.


The drug is given in two injections under the skin (in the same sitting) once a month for 12 months or less. It has a “black box” warning because the Evenity may increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, so it’s not recommended for people with a history of either.


Natural Treatment For Osteoporosis


Since osteoporosis medications can have side effects, you may prefer to try other treatments instead. Several supplements can improve bone health, including red clover, soy, and black cohosh. Be sure to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any of these supplements. There are two reasons for this.


Supplements like these for osteoporosis treatment are not well studied. Therefore, their effectiveness cannot be verified. You may experience side effects or interactions with your medications when taking these supplements. If you are taking any medications that might interact with the supplement, you should know what side effects could happen.


That said, some people experience good results when using natural remedies.


Diet


As part of your treatment plan, an appropriate diet can help you build stronger bones.