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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Osteoporosis – The silent bone killer

Osteoporosis in medical terms is poor bone density; but generally speaking it means having fragile or brittle bones which might lead to fractures with minimal injury. It has various risk factors associated which usually help a doctor to identify it, but it’s unfortunately absolutely asymptomatic until the patient fractures a bone.

Risk factors:

Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • increasing age specially above 50,
  • females are more prone to osteoporosis than males
  • people with low bone mass
  • history of fractures
  • smoking
  • certain medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis)
  • prolonged use of certain steroids or other medications

Common bones affected:

The vertebrae, hip bones and wrist bones are commonly affected and are more prone to fragility fractures, might get fractured with trivial domestic falls in patients having poor bone density.

Prevention & Treatments:

If we follow certain prevention tips, the irsk of getting osteoporosis can be avoided:

  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • After age of 45 especially in females one should get a Bone Mineral Densitometry (DEXA Scan) test done which objectively tells about the bone strength. If the test suggests positive result, then consult an orthopaedic surgeon and take corrective measures accordingly. In such cases, BMD should be repeated every 2-3 years
  • If one is taking any steroid medication for any medical condition, then consult your physician regarding the possibility of developing osteoporosis
  • One should exercise regularly, which should include both muscle strengthening exercises and impact exercises like jumping, running and light weight training
  • Elderly males are also prone to osteoporosis in case of testosterone deficiency, which has to be treated with hormone replacement therapy

Patients having poor bone density are usually treated according to the severity assessed by BMD test which gives a T Score for assessment of fragility fracture risk. If the T score is very low and fragility fracture risk is very high then certain medications and injections may be given (please consult your doctor for the same). Regular follow up with the orthopedic surgeon is a must.

If one develops an osteoporotic fracture then it’s possible to treat these fractures in plaster and with surgery, though the fracture healing may be delayed due to poor bone quality. Hence its best to identify and get osteoporosis treated if not prevented.