Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases that are more likely to occur in older people. It is a condition that is generally characterized by a decrease in bone density and in bone strength, which leads to bone fragility. People who have osteoporosis will normally have porous bones that are as compressible as a sponge. This skeleton disorder weakens the bones and results in very frequent fractures.
Normally, the bone is composed of protein, calcium and collagen, which give the bone the needed strength. However, bones that are affected by osteoporosis will break easily with even a relatively minor injury that normally does not pose threat to the bones. The fracture acquired can be in different forms, like cracking (hip fracture) and collapsing (compression fracture of the spinal vertebrae). The hips, spine, ribs, and wrists are the most common areas of bone fractures related to osteoporosis.
The reason why people are not aware of the presence of osteoporosis in their systems is because it can be present without even showing symptoms. The only time that people will likely be aware of osteoporosis is when bone fractures start to happen. Aside from these, most of the osteoporotic fractures are able to escape detection for years, especially if there are no immediate signs of bone fractures. The most common symptom that people will likely feel is pain, and the severity and location of the pain depends on the fractured bone. Until people finally feel the pain of fracture, they are usually clueless about the existence of osteoporosis in their bodies.
Vertebral fractures, like spine fractures, are able to induce severe ‘band-like’ pain that commonly radiates from the back of the body up to the sides. Through the years, the repeated spinal fractures eventually lead to chronic lower back pain, as well as the loss of height and curving of the spine which are caused by the collapse of the vertebrae. The collapse will give a hunched-back appearance, which is also referred to as the ‘dowager-hump’ commonly seen in elderly women.
Osteoporosis bone fractures are very inconvenient for affected people because it is able to disrupt a person’s normal day routine. People who are suffering from osteoporosis will most likely experience considerable pain, decreased life quality, lost of productive workdays, and disability. 30% of the population who suffer from hip fracture will need long-term nursing-home care. Aside from this, because of prolonged bed rest after a hip-fracture incident, elderly patients are susceptible to the development of pneumonia and blood clots in the leg veins which eventually travel to the lungs and can cause pulmonary embolism. Osteoporosis has also been linked with the increased risk of death among patients.
There are many risk factors that are associated with the development of osteoporosis. Some of these risk factors are the family history of osteoporosis, personal history of fracture, lack of exercise, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, low calcium diet, poor nutrition, chronic inflammation, immobility, and many more. Changes in lifestyle and diet may lessen the chances of osteoporosis occurrence.