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What are the Different Osteoporosis Effects?

Article Details
  • Written By: Cathy Crenshaw Doheny
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Osteoporosis, literally meaning "porous bones," is a disease that causes a decrease in bone density, resulting in thin and brittle bones. The disease occurs when calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals are lost from bones. Though osteoporosis is more common in patients of advanced age, there are also other risk factors that predispose a patient to the disease, including being female, being of Caucasian or Asian descent, having a thin build, and having a family history of the condition. As symptoms of the condition can present in a variety of ways, osteoporosis effects range from simple quality of life issues to increased mortality risks.

Osteoporosis effects are not always experienced immediately, as many cases of the disease are asymptomatic. These patients may only become aware of the illness when they undergo a routine osteoporosis screening or when they suffer from an osteoporotic fracture during daily activities. These fractures most often affect weight-bearing bones, such as the hip and spine. Wrist fractures also frequently result from falls.

Osteoporosis effects associated with hip fractures tend to be more severe, as surgery is usually required to treat the break. Patients then have an increased risk of post-surgical complications related to immobility while they recover, that may include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, and wasting of the muscles. Hip surgeries ultimately result in a higher incidence of disability and even death, especially in the elderly population.

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Likewise, the osteoporosis effects resulting from spinal fractures can be equally devastating. These fractures can occur without any precipitating injury or fall. They simply result from a weakening in the bones of the back, called the vertebrae. When the vertebrae weaken, they compress and cause compression fractures.

Often very painful, compression fractures can cause a spinal deformity known as kyphosis. This complication can take several inches off of a patient's height and causes a "hunchback" appearance. In addition, kyphosis may cause a crowding of internal organs, resulting in breathing difficulties.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options to help manage and, in some cases, prevent many of the osteoporosis effects. These include hormone therapy, bisphosphonates, Tomoxifen, Evista®, as well as several emerging drugs and treatments. Patients can also make lifestyle changes that will help prevent the onset or reduce the severity of osteoporosis. These include getting enough calcium and vitamin D through a healthy diet and supplementation, regular exercise, cessation of smoking, and adding soy into the diet.

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anon335498
Post 2

Interesting. Thanks for explaining what osteoporosis is in a more in depth sense

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