1) What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition which causes brittleness and weakness of the bones. Normally, daily some amount of the new bone is formed in the body and almost same amount of it is removed by the body. When this critical balance is disturbed and the bone loss become more than the new bone production, it causes Osteoporosis.
Generally, it is a disease of aging process, but it is much more common in females than in the males, after natural or surgical menopause (e.g. after Hysterectomy).
2) What is the impact of Osteoporosis on an individual?
Osteoporosis can cause fractures after minimal injury. The most common fractures related to Osteoporosis, include that of hip, spine, wrist, shoulder and ankle bones. Some of these fractures like that of hip and spine in elderly people can cause significant morbidity and sometime mortality, if not treated well and in time.
3) What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is incidentally a ‘silent disease’ and one may not be able to know if they are afflicted with Osteoporosis. In most people, it may manifest firstly as a fracture after a trivial fall or injury. Hence, prevention of it is much more important than the treatment itself. Some elderly individual may lose their height progressively due to bending of their back (hump back or kyphosis).
4) How can Osteoporosis be diagnosed?
Now days, it is possible to diagnose Osteoporosis, quite easily using various investigations like bone densitometry and DEXA scan. Even the early stages (Osteopenia) of it can be diagnosed accurately by these tests. Only very advanced stages of Osteoporosis is apparent of the x-rays.
5) Is Osteoporosis treatable?
Osteoporosis is a fully treatable condition. There are various types of treatments available these days. These include calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Anti resorptive medicines, which prevent excessive bone loss in the body and there are injections of Parathyroid hormones, which help in forming good quality of new bone (anabolic).