World osteoporosis day is celebrated on October 20 every year. It is 'celebrated' by creating awareness about the health problem , its causes and preventive measures. Women are at a greater risk of osteoporosis after menopause which can lead to chances of risk of painful fractures.
Osteoporosis ("porous bones", from Greek: is a progressive disease of the bone that is characterised by a decrease in bone mass and density and that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced .
In childhood, our bones grow and repair and renew quickly. Bones stop growing in length between the ages of 16 and 18, but the bones continue to increase in density till the age of late 20s. Bones are the thickest and strongest in early adult life.But as one ages the constant growth , repair and renewal slows down and the bones become weaker and are more susceptible to fractures.
After the age of 35 , one gradually and slowly loses bone density. This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures and women are at greater after menopause.
Who are affected by osteoporosis?
Both man and women are affected by this disease but is more common in older people but younger people can be affected.
Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men. This is because changes in hormone levels can affect bone density. The female hormone oestrogen is essential for healthy bones. After the menopause the level of oestrogen in the body falls, and this can lead to a rapid decrease in bone density.
Women are at even greater risk of developing osteoporosis when:
Some women have menopause before the age of 45.
Some women undergo hysterectomy , a surgical procedure to remove the womb (uterus)
Some women become victims of fad diets.
For most men who develop osteoporosis, the cause is unknown. However, there is a link to the male hormone testosterone, which helps to keep the bones healthy. Men continue to produce this hormone into old age, but the risk of osteoporosis is increased in men with low levels of testosterone.
- Factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis.
diseases of the hormone producing glands
a family history of osteoporosis.
long-term use of certain medications that affect bone strength or
Heavy drinking and smoking
A low Body Mass Index of 19 or less
Some drugs used in Treatment of breast cancer and prostate cancer
Long periods of inactivity, such as long-term bed rest
Disorders of pituitary gland
Healthy people usually would not suffer from fractures. Osteoporosis has no outward
symptoms but its main consequence is the increased risk of bone fractures and
hence they are therefore regarded as fragility fractures. Fractures occur in
the vertebral column, rib , hip and wrist.