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OsteoporosisWhat is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is an ailment in which the bones become porous and gradually become thin and weak which caused them to get fractured easily. It is possible for all the bones of the body to be affected by this ailment, but normally the bones of the spine, hip and wrist are most susceptible to fractures. Hip fractures can be especially dangerous in older people because the healing process requires prolonged immobility and this can cause pneumonia or blood clots which can both be fatal.

Osteoporosis affects women more than men because their bones are lighter and less dense. Another reason for women to be more susceptible to osteoporosis is that their bodies undergo several hormonal changes during and after menopause which accelerates the loss of bone mass.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

The exact cause of osteoporosis is not known, but the process by which the bones become thin and weak is understood well. In a process known as bone remodeling the bones are continuously broken down and replaced early in life. The bone mass is the highest in the age of mid to late 20s. Bone loss occurs when the bone breakdown is faster than the buildup of the bone which usually occurs in the mid 30s. The bones start losing calcium faster than it is replaced and calcium is the mineral responsible for making the bones hard. In women the loss in bone density is maximum during the first five to seven years after menopause. According to medical experts this increase in the speed of bone loss is due to the steep decline in the levels of estrogen in the body which helps to keep the calcium in the bones.

Although some amount of bone loss is a natural part of aging, some women who have thin frame along with those who smoke, drink heavily or live a sedentary life are more prone to this ailment. At the same time, women who have family history of osteoporosis and even those who have had their ovaries removed before the age of 40 years are also more susceptible. Then again there are some medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome, kidney disease, and a hyper active thyroid or para thyroid can also cause osteoporosis. Steroids like glucocorticoids and some anti seizure drugs also lead to osteoporosis while so does prolonged immobility due to illness or paralysis.

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Types of Osteoporosis

Let us look at the four types of osteoporosis:

  • Primary osteoporosis – This is the most common type of osteoporosis and is more common in women than in men. A person’s bone mass is the highest at the age of 30 after which he or she gradually starts to lose bone mass. The development of osteoporosis depends on the thickness of the bones in the early years of life along with the diet, health and physical activity at all ages. Women usually experience rapid bone loss after menopause because the production of estrogen slows down. On the other hand in men the bone loss occurs at about 45 to 50 years of age when the production of testosterone slows down.
  • Secondary osteoporosis – The symptoms of secondary and primary osteoporosis are the same, but secondary osteoporosis is the result of certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism or leukemia. Osteoporosis can also occur in people taking certain types of medication like high dosage of oral or inhaled corticosteroids when used more than 6 months, very high dosage of thyroid replacement, or aromatase inhibitors.
  • Osteogenesisimperfecta – This is a rare type of osteoporosis which is present at birth which causes the bones to break for no known reason.
  • Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis – This type of osteoporosis is also rare and it occurs in children between 8 and 14 years old which is the time of rapid growth. There is no known cause of this type of osteoporosis.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

  • Age: Once the maximum bone mass of a person is attained at the age of 30 years the bones naturally start to become thin with age.
  • Gender: Women more than 50 years in age are more prone to develop osteoporosis.
  • Ethnicity: According to research Asian and Caucasian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis
  • Bone structure and body weight: Thin and petite women are more at risk of developing this ailment because their bone mass is already lower compared to that in women with larger frames.
  • Family history: People with family history of osteoporosis are also more prone to it.
  • Smoking and heavy drinking: This may also result in excessive thinning of bones and increase the risk of fracture.
  • Some diseases: Some diseases like rheumatoid arthritis also increase the risk of this ailment
  • Some medications: Some medicines like steroids can also increase the risk for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and Menopause

The production of the female hormone estrogen decreases sharply in women after menopause. This female hormone is responsible for the proper absorption of calcium by the bones and low levels of estrogen cause the bones to absorb less calcium. As a result the loss of bone mass is more rapid compared to the building up of bones and results in osteoporosis.

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Osteoporosis Tests and Diagnosis

Almost 80% of the density of bones depends on heredity and the remaining 20% on lifestyle. Bone mineral test show the exact density of the bones and also help to determine if a person has osteoporosis. Let us look at the tests that help to diagnose osteoporosis

  • DEXA scan – This is the most common test for osteoporosis and is also known as DXA or dual X ray Absorptiometry. It measures the density of the spine, hip or whole body bone density to help determine risk of fractures.
  • Other bone density tests – Ultrasound and quantitative computed tomography can also check bone density.
  • Bone densitometry – This is like an X ray which accurately and quickly determines the density of bones.

Treatment for Osteoporosis

The treatment of osteoporosis includes the basic Calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise along with prevention of falls and bone friendly medicines.

  • A lifestyle treatment for osteopenia – Osteopenia is a condition in which the bone density is lower than normal but not so high as to be called osteoporosis.
  • Exercise for osteoporosis –Weight bearing exercise is often prescribed for patients with osteoporosis.
  • Strontium treatment – This is one of the treatments for osteoporosis and is administered by a doctor.
  • Selective estrogen replacement modulators – Raloxifene is a drug that is considered to be a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It is approved by the FDA for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis especially in post menopausal women.

Results after Treatment

Drugs called biophosphonates are considered by many to be drugs which prevent the risk of fractures. However, the positive effect of this drug is very less compared to the harmful side effects. On the other hand, the combination of calcium, vitamin D and weight bearing exercise has shown some positive results in patients with osteoporosis.

How do IndianMedTrip Assist you to get the Best Osteoporosis Treatment in India?

IndianMedTrip is a medical tourism company that specializes in helping and guiding international patients who come to India for different types of medical treatment like the treatment for osteoporosis. Often these patients and their families find it difficult to find the right kind of hospitals and doctors for their treatment. We help them to find the best facilities for the lowest cost.

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