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Osteoporosis

Overview

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes bones in the body to thin, therefore making fractures to more commonly happen. Osteoporosis is the term used for "porous bones." While the thinning occurs, it causes higher susceptibility for breaks due to the small pores in the bones being hollow. The result is severe pain when bones are fractured and a slower healing process than normal.

What causes Osteoporosis?

The main cause of Osteoporosis is aging. Because bone is living, regenerating tissue, Osteoporosis occurs when the living tissue no longer keeps pace (regeneration) with the deterioration of the bones. As people age, their bones become weaker, and, sometimes, begin to thin, making the bones easier to break even in simple daily activities. Being female, having light body weight, and smoking are all risks to Osteoporosis. As the body undergoes drastic changes, such as after menopause, elderly females are more susceptible to Osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis has no symptoms, as it is the underlying cause to bone brittleness and fractures. It is very difficult to learn of the presence of Osteoporosis until a bone breaks. This type of disease is commonly referred to as a "silent disease."

How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis is diagnosed by the measurement of bone mineral density, or BMD. While, 80% of your BMD is based off genetics, the other 20% is dependent on lifestyle. Each person differs, but the average age of a person's peak bone mass, which is the highest bone density, is 30. In diagnosing Osteoporosis, a physician will perform radiography tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. However, a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA, is typically the best test when diagnosing Osteoporosis. A DXA measures total body bone density, and can help gauge the fracture risk of an individual.

How is Osteoporosis treated?

When treating Osteoporosis, physicians usually recommend vitamins, such as calcium pills and vitamin D. Further treatment, such as exercising with light weight, and other nutritional advice may be given. Also, physicians may prescribe bone-friendly medicine to help prevent quick deterioration and help rebuild bone density.

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