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What is Osteoporosis by Megan Poley

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Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens and thins bones until they reach a point where they become very fragile and break easily. People with osteoporosis most often break the bones in the wrist, hip, and spine, but any bone in the body can break due to this disease. Osteoporosis is not a disease that can be caught from another person. This disease can occur at any age and anyone can get it, but it is more common in older women than anyone else.  Osteoporosis is a silent disease and someone may not know that they have it until they break a bone. The best way to determine if someone has osteoporosis is through a bone mineral density test to check the bone health.

There are some risk factors for this disease, and they include getting older, being small and thin, having family history of osteoporosis, taking certain medication that can cause this disease, being a white or Asian woman, and having osteopenia or low bone density. Osteoporosis is caused by bone loss. During our lives our bodies break down old bone and replace it with new bone. As people get older more of the bones are broken down than being replaced. The space inside of the bone becomes larger because of the loss of strength and bone density, and the outside of the bone becomes thinner which weakens the bone.

Around the age of thirty years old the bone mass stops increasing, and the main goal for bone health is to keep as much of the existing bone as possible for as long as possible. For women the rate of bone loss can increase for several years after menopause, then it slows down again, but bone loss still continues at a slower rate. For men bone loss happen at a slower rate than women, but around the age of sixty five years old or seventy years old most women and men are losing bone density at about the same rate. Because osteoporosis is known as a silent disease and someone may not know that they have it until they break a bone, this could result in a hospital visit, surgery, and maybe a long-term disability due to the bone that was broken.

Osteoporosis can often be prevented and treated. To prevent osteoporosis and keep bones strong a healthy diet with calcium and vitamin D is necessary. Exercising and being active can also prevent osteoporosis. As well as making sure not to take certain medications that can cause bone loss. Also, not smoking can play a role in someone not developing osteoporosis. To treat osteoporosis you also need to eat a healthy diet with lots of calcium and vitamin D, do weight bearing exercises, no smoking, and medications can help if needed. Some medications that are used to treat osteoporosis include bisphosphonates, estrogen agonists, calcitonin, parathyroid hormone, estrogen therapy, and hormone therapy.

It is also important that a person who already has osteoporosis make sure that they know the precautions to take to prevent breaking any bones from falling. Some precautions to take are to use a cane, wear rubber-soled shoes that are supportive with a low heel, avoid slippery sidewalks, keep rooms clutter free to avoid tripping, keep floors smooth but not slippery, avoid walking in socks and slippers, and use rubber bath mats in the shower or bath tub.

In conclusion osteoporosis is a very common disease among older women that can be prevented and treated.




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