What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis or else, the silent disease
It has no symptoms and is discovered only when a person suffers a fracture and it is already at an advanced stage. This is why prevention is much more important than treatment. Osteoporosis is the term used to describe the loss of bone mass, which in combination with the bone microarchitecture disorder increases their fragility (weakening of the bones) and may cause an osteoporotic fracture, also known as vertebral compression. Osteoporosis has become now a very frequent disease both in women (1 out of 2) and men (1 out of 5) after 50.
The factors incriminated are:
- low body weight
- The intake of specific drugs for long time periods (cortisone, antidepressants, et.al.)
Also diseases such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
- diabetes e.al
Proper nutrition, exercise from childhood and intake of calcium and vitamin D supplements in adulthood, avoidance of aggravating factors, as well as preventive bone density tests, reduce the chances of osteoporosis.
What osteoporotic fractures are
Osteoporotic fractures are caused by osteoporosis,
which is defined as a reduction in bone mass and quality, causing fractures without trauma. In this case, a fracture may be caused by as simple a cause as a sudden movement, bending, coughing or even an attempt to reach an object placed in a high place. Very often, vertebral compression causes pain that, in the beginning, is mild or medium and slowly recedes. In time, however, in most cases, pain persists for a long period of time or worsens gradually.
Every time a vertebra is compressed, the burden on the adjacent vertebras increases. Therefore, a fracture may create conditions for other compressions. As a result, our spine loses its alignment and, since it is not supported adequately, it begins to bend forward creating a permanent kyphosis (hump) in the back with a simultaneous loss of body height. When this happens, we face several problems daily, including respiration problems as well as difficulties to perform simple activities, such as bathing or getting dressed, walking, et.al.
Diagnosis – Treatment
The first step to address an osteoporotic fracture is to seek immediate diagnosis by a specialist. Usually, the problem can be treated by reducing the individual’s activities and in many cases, by supporting the spine using a trunk brace. There are also cases where surgical treatment is necessary.