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Osteoporosis

- Summary
- About osteoporosis
- Risk factors and causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment options
- Prevention methods
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

Summary

Osteoporosis is a disorder in Osteoporosis involves the bones becoming thin, brittle and more prone to fracture, causing pain.which the bones lose mass and density and become prone to fractures. It frequently affects women during and after menopause, and it is also common in elderly men.

Bones lose mass naturally as people age, but osteoporosis hastens this loss. The many contributors to osteoporosis include:

  • Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, low-calcium diet, smoking and alcohol abuse

  • Low levels of sex hormones

  • Corticosteroid or other immunosuppressive therapy

  • Diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes to asthma to cancer

Osteoporosis has no symptoms in its early stages. It may cause back pain and loss of height or a stooped posture as it progresses, but often the first sign of osteoporosis is a fracture in the spine, hip or wrist. Falls or even coughing, sneezing or bending over can lead to fractures in osteoporotic bones that can cause sharp and sudden pain.

Osteoporosis usually can be revealed through tests that measure bone density, such as a type of x-ray called a DEXA scan.

Treatment options include nutrition, exercise therapy and medications such as bisphosphonates. Men may be prescribed testosterone therapy, but long-term hormone replacement therapy is becoming less common for women because of the risk of serious side effects. In some cases spinal surgery such as vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty is used to treat pain associated with vertebral compression fractures caused by osteoporosis.

People can take several steps to reduce their risk of osteoporosis. The most effective preventive measure is to build bone mass at a young age through exercise and a good diet so that a store of strong bone material is built up for later years. However, people of all ages can strengthen their bones through improved diet, regular exercise and not smoking.

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Review Date: 04-26-2007
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