What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a progressive skeletal disorder, characterized by the low bone mass and the disturbed microarchitecture of the bone tissue, resulting in a significant reduction of bone strength and the increased bone fragility. It occurs widely in many people, and therefore, it has been pronounced a civilization disease by the World Health Organization.
The risk factors for osteoporosis are primarily age, genetic factors, white race, petite body built , low bone mass, underweight, deficiency of sex hormones, diet low in calcium, sodium, and vitamin D, malnutrition, smoking, alcohol abuse, intake of antiepileptic medications or corticosteroids, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, a sedentary lifestyle and low physical activity.
Osteoporosis can occur in a number of the following forms:
- primary osteoporosis , the cause of which is not fully known.
- juvenile osteoporosis , which occurs in children aged 5-15 years , caused by the malabsorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract.
- secondary osteoporosis , the occurrence of which is associated with the presence of other diseases such as thyrotoxicosis , diabetes , cirrhosis of liver.
- immobilization osteoporosis , occurring locally in the part of the body which has been immobilized, for example, by plaster , which leads to the decrease of the blood supply to this area.
- involutional osteoporosis , associated with involutionary changes, occurring with age.
- postmenopausal osteoporosis , caused by the estrogen deficiency in women in postmenopausal period.
- senile osteoporosis , which develops in people over 60 years of age , associated with the imbalance between osteoclasts cells , and the osteogenic cells (osteoclasts and osteoblasts) There is another classification of osteoporosis based on the of the pace of change developing in the body of the patient. If the total loss of bone mass per year is above 3.5% , then the disease is defined as the osteoporosis with rapid bone turnover. It mainly affects women in the early menopausal period . However, in case of the loss of bone mass lower than 3.5% during the year, the osteoporosis is defined as the one with slow bone turnover.
The process of osteoporosis begins asymptomatically, then the first few specific signs and symptoms occur, including discomfort when standing and sitting, mobility problems , decreased range of joint movement , especially in the joints of the spine. The acute symptoms include pain in the back section of TH- L , lowering of height, as well as the biconcave or wedge fractures in the spine and the extra-spinal fractures visible in the radiographic images. Compression fractures in the spine area account for approximately one third of women over 50 years of age. These fractures often lead to changes in body shape , the occurrence of chest deformations and the so called dowager 's hump , that is, stooping and rounding off the back, followed by the reduction in height. An increase of thoracic kyphosis affects the functioning of organs of the chest and abdomen , which can lead to digestive disorders and constipation , as well as pneumonia. The fractures most often affect the vertebrae in the thoracic- lumbar transition , ribs, femoral neck , and distal epiphysis of the radius bone.
As the disease begins secretly and non-specifically and it is recognized most often when the major changes and fractures occur, the prevention plays a significant role. Densitometry is a test that assesses the mineral density of the bone and is used to evaluate the bone mass and to diagnose a disease. The early diagnosis of osteoporosis provides the opportunity to prevent its development and to start the early treatment. The prevention of osteoporosis involves the regular control of the hormonal disorders, the supplementation of the diet with calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D as well as preventing falls and fractures. The treatment of osteoporosis is based on the use of pharmacological agents.
The treatment of osteoporosis is based on the use of pharmacological preparations, however we can now hear more and more about natural methods that rely mainly on supplementation with vitamins D and K2. This method is tested and entirely safe, and above all effective - provided that the used preparations are natural and not synthetically produced, and when the specialist has the necessary knowledge on how to use them. It has been proven that the combination of both vitamins in the diet has positive effects and is safe in comparison to the use of only one of them. Osteoporosis is also one of the factors deepening the symptoms of arthritis, that is why it is important to ensure adequate quantity and quality of the synovial fluid in every joint.