Osteoporosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Osteoporosis can be defined as a bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass making the bones too weak and prone to fracture. Traditionally, osteoporosis was associated with women who have reached menopause, but today, things have changed and the condition is associated with men and women of all ages. Statistically, two million men and eight million women in the United States have osteoporosis and here is everything you ought to know about the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
Scientifically, there are no symptoms associated with a reduction in bone mass. However, if your bones become weak as a result of osteoporosis, you’ll have the following symptoms;
• Loss of height with time
• Bone fracture occurring easily than expected
• Back pain
• A stooped posture
There are various factors that could lead to osteoporosis and include;
• Increasing age
• Low body weight
• A family history of osteoporotic fracture
• Personal history of fracture
• Excessive alcohol
• History of falls
• Low vitamin D intake or calcium
Diagnosing osteoporosis involves the evaluation of bone density and assessing your risk for fracture. This is mostly done to men and women over the age of 65 or anyone who had a fracture in the past. If the physician realizes that you are not at risk of osteoporosis or fracture, you will undergo a series of quick tests to determine your bone mineral density (BMD) and if your bone density is too low, you’ll be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
The best assessment method of osteoporosis risk is through DXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). This is where parts of your body such as the hip, wrist and spine are scanned using a special type of X-ray machine to determine if you’re at high risk of fractures. Also, CT (computerized tomography) scan can be used to examine the condition of your bones. Normally, this is a painless test so you have nothing to worry about.
Treatment of osteoporosis
For you to undergo osteoporosis treatment, your doctor will use vital information such as your bone density test to examine your risk of bone fracture in the next ten years. If the doctor realizes that the risk is not high, you are on the lucky side and the doctor will advise you on the lifestyle and health condition to prevent the risks of bone loss and falls. However, if you’re at high risk of fracture, your doctor will prescribe osteoporosis medication and here are a few examples;
• Bisphosphonates such as etidronate, zoledronic acid, alendronate, and risedronate. These medications are effective in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Besides slowing down bone loss, they also lower chances of fracture and help in repairing your bones.
• SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators such as raloxifene that work effectively in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in women
• Denosumab – This usually inhibits bone breakdown making your bones strong
• Hormone-replacement therapies (HRT) – Available for women past menopause, estrogen replacement will work excellently in preserving your bones and managing menopausal symptoms
• Parathyroid hormone analogues such as teriparatide that helps in building new bones
• Testosterone which is effective in treating osteoporosis in men
You can combine two or more medication when treating osteoporosis, but as a rule of thumb, seek advice from your doctor. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.