Understanding Osteoporosis in Women

By: James Pendergraft

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is prevalent in women after their menopausal period. It is characterized by a reduction in bone density and leads to an increase in the risk of having bone fracture. In osteoporosis, the mineral content in the bones as well as the structure of the bone itself is greatly altered, making the woman susceptible to bone injuries and their complications.

Detecting Osteoporosis

By itself, osteoporosis has no specific symptoms. The risk or presence of the disease is only detected if the woman becomes injured or suffers bone fractures in circumstances that healthy people would normally not suffer the same fate. In this case, the situation is described as fragility fracture because the injury is greatly due to the weak structure of the bone.

In the more advanced cases of osteoporosis, vertebral collapse is also noted. This is a condition that indicates that the vertebra is no longer able to support the woman’s body weight. This is also accompanied by severe back pain, and regular and stinging pain caused by nerve compression. Fractures may also occur in other body parts, and depending on the severity and state of health of the patient, surgery may be recommended.

A very delicate situation is when a hip fracture occurs. In this case, prompt surgery is required because the condition brings with it deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism with fatal consequences.

Treatment of Osteoporosis

Thanks to modern technology, there are now varied means for treating osteoporosis:

*Medication is the most common and a readily available form of treatment. In medication for osteoporosis, bisphosphonates are the most commonly used drug and is the first-line treatment for women who are affected with osteoporosis. However, the drug has a record of poor absorption. In order to maximize the potency of the drug, the patient must not take anything for at least 30 minutes after taking the medication. Another drug commonly used is teriparatide. The teriparatide drug is given to women with confirmed cases of osteoporosis or those who have already suffered bone fractures. Moreover, it is also used as an alternative to bisphosphonates especially when the patient cannot tolerate the latter. Teriparatide is administered in small injections.

* Another treatment that holds the future for the treatment of osteoporosis is hormone replacement. Although this process holds a lot of promise, its application as treatment for osteoporosis is not strongly recommended unless there are other uses for it.

* Nutritional factors. Calcium and Vitamin D are two very important nutrients a woman must have to effectively counter osteoporosis. Calcium is essential for bone growth, bone healing, and for maintaining bone strength. Calcium supplements are easily available in the market and it can contribute much toward countering osteoporosis. On the other hand, vitamin D helps reduce the incidence of fractures in women.

* Exercise. The proper amount and regular exercise are also very vital in ensuring that osteoporosis is treated and the woman’s bone health restored to top condition.

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