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1. What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a slowly developing condition affecting bone health, leading to weakening of bones, causing fragility and increased tendency to break. Pain starts after you experience a fracture.
2. What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
The early stages of bone loss are symptomless. The following symptoms are seen with the weakening of bone:
•Collapsed or fractured vertebra causing back pain
•Reduced height with time or stooping
•Fragile bone that breaks easily
3. What factors may lead to osteoporosis?
Factors leading to osteoporosis include:
•Low oestrogen in women, low testosterone in men, abnormal thyroid conditions and other hormonal imbalances
•Deficiency of calcium or vitamin D
•Lack of daily activity
•Medical conditions or medications (corticosteroids and anti-seizure drugs)
•Smoking or alcoholism
4. What techniques are involved in the diagnosis of osteoporosis?
The physician will diagnose osteoporosis as follows:
•Calculating fracture risk in the patients using FRAX or Q-Fracture, which are online programmes
•Bone density scan (DEXA scan) to calculate bone strength
5. What are the therapies for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis treatment, aiming mainly at preventing bone fractures and treating the existing ones, includes:
•Proper diet counselling, with calcium and vitamin D supplementation
•Medications, such as bisphosphonates limit breakdown of the bones, thereby maintaining its density
•Elective oestrogen receptor modulators maintain bone density
•Hormone replacement therapy (testosterone therapy)