What is Osteoprosis?
Osteoporosis literally means 'porous bone' and is the most common bone disease worldwide. It is also sometimes called 'brittle bones' and is a disorder in which bone strength is compromised, making it more likely that bones will break.1-3
The increased fragility of bones results from low bone mass and the structural deterioration of the bone tissue.4 There is a continuous renewal of bone tissue throughout your life. This carefully balanced process, called bone remodelling, consists of the breaking down of old bone tissue and the formation of new tissue.
Symptoms and complications
Osteoporosis has often been called a 'silent disease' because the associated bone loss usually occurs without any symptoms. In fact, bone loss is so insidious that many patients are not aware that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so fragile that a sudden fall or bump causes a fracture.5 Fortunately, such fractures are preventable.6 Osteoporosis can be easily diagnosed and treated. Thus, it is important to identify your risk and approach your doctor for early diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment of Osteoprosis
Your doctor may consider treatment when your bone mineral density (BMD) value at the hip is more than 2.5 standard deviations (SD) below the mean value for young adults. If you are a postmenopausal woman with additional risk factors, treatment may be initiated when the BMD of the hip is more than 2 standard deviations below the mean value.7
Although it may seem that living with osteoporosis might be difficult, it is important to remember that it doesn't have to control your life. It is perfectly understandable that you may feel a little low at times, but by finding ways to manage the disease and its symptoms, you would still be able to lead a full and enjoyable life.
Once your doctor is satisfied that your condition is under control, you may probably need to see him about once a year for monitoring and treatment assessment.
1.What is osteoporosis? International Osteoporosis Foundation Web site. Available at: www.iofbonehealth.org.
2."Full information" for each FDA study health claim. Food and Drug Administration Web site. Available at: www.fda.gov.
3. What is bone disease? United States Department of Health and Human Services Web site. Available at: www.surgeryngeneral.gov.
4. Bone health and osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2004
5. Fast facts. International Osteoporosis Foundation Web site. Available at: www.nof.org.
6. Cummings SR, Melton LJ. Epidemiology and outcomes of osteoporotic fractures. Lancet. 2002;359:1761-1767.
7. Lindsay R, Cosman F. Osteoporosis. In: Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, Braunwald E, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Medical Pub. Division; 2005:2268-2278.