What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that degrades the bones, causing it to turn brittle as a result of a loss of bone tissue and a low bone mass. Consequently, the person turns exceedingly susceptible to fractures. Such fractures are known as fragility fractures.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can be caused due to a variety of reasons such as:
- Low peak bone mass
- Low levels of testosterone and estrogen in men and women
- Imbalanced hormones
- Hyperthyroidism and other thyroid problems
- Kidney diseases, anorexia
- Surgical treatment on ovaries for its removal
- Low calcium diet
- Lack of Vitamin D
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
In the initial phases, people inflicted with osteoporosis show no visible signs or symptoms, but over time, the symptoms listed below begin to appear:
Loss in height in normal circumstances is a part of growth. With ageing, the discs in the spinal cord contract and shrink, leading to a loss of height. But a person suffering from this disease can experience height loss all of a sudden.
Fractures are the most grievous facets of this disease. It can cause debilitating, chronic and acute pain. It can be challenging associating fractures to this disease as it is asymptomatic. Fractures of the long bones in some cases, impair the mobility acutely and might require surgery.
One of the first symptoms suggesting osteoporosis is a broken wrist. After menopause, women are more susceptible to wrist fractures. Typically, one shoots their arm to the front as part of a reflex action to stop its fall. Bones in a healthy state must be able to oppose a simple fall, however, a fracture indicates osteoporosis.
When a hip fractures, the top of the thigh-bone is usually the site where the break can potentially happen. Furthermore, people in their late 70s or 80s are at a higher risk for this type of injury. It is observed more in a fall-related injury.
A broken hip can give excruciating pain. In most cases, it calls for an operation. Complications arising due to old age also affect recovery.
Types of Bone Tissues
Bones provide the body with support, protection and structure for internal organs. It consists of calcium and other minerals rendering rigidity and strength. They also comprise the bone marrow, which is the site for synthesis of new blood cells.
Every bone comprises 2 types of bone tissues.
- Cortical Bone – A thick outer shell or cover rendering a solid and smooth appearance to the bones.
- Trabecular Bone – A strong mesh found within the shell
These types of bone tissues are usually assisted by the blood supply and nerve. Bone marrow and fat fills up all the spaces in between. There are a few bones towards the end of the long bones, those in the arms and legs. These have a great proportion of trabecular bone.
This condition can be thought of as a precursor to Osteoporosis. Here, the bones are not as delicate as observed in the condition of osteoporosis, but they are frailer than the normal bones. It is distinguished by the body’s inability to build new tissues as rapidly as the old bone tissues are reabsorbed making the bones weaker, which may potentially lead to osteoporosis.
It is typically observed in people above the age of 50. It can also be inherited among family members. Women are also prone to this ailment.
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