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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Women's Health Brittle bones

Brittle bones

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It is also called as porous bones, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak and brittle so even mild stress like bending over, lifting a vacuum cleaner or coughing van cause fracture. Bone weakness occurs due to low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in bones. It is more common in woman than in men. It is characterized by loss of normal bone density, resulting in fragile bones.

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak and brittle so even mild stress like bending over, lifting a vacuum cleaner or coughing van cause fracture. Bone weakness occurs due to low levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in bones. It is more common in woman than in men. It is characterized by loss of normal bone density, resulting in fragile bones.

It is the common result for fractures. Most fractures involve spine, hip, wrist bone.


Risk factors for osteoporosis

  • Aging.
  • Females.
  • Low body weight.
  • Low sex hormones such as during menopause, smoking and some medications.
  • Tobacco use.
  • Persons taking corticosteroids for long term.
  • Thyroid hormones.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Low calcium intake.
  • Chronic alcoholism.
  • Post menopause.
  • Osteopenia, having low bone mass.
  • Malabsoprtion.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.

Symptoms

  • Back pain, which can be severe if there is fracture or collapsed vertebra.
  • Loss of height over time with stooped posture.
  • Fracture of vertebrae, wrists, hips and other bones.


Prevention of osteoporosis

  • Regular exercises.
  • Adequate amount of calcium.
  • Adequate amounts of vitamin D which is helpful in absorbing calcium.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid consumption of caffeine.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Tests and diagnosis

  • Osteopenia refers to mild bone loss that increases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA): It is the best screening test. It is simple and gives accurate results. It measures the density of bones of spine, hip and wrist.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Quantitative computerized tomography (CT) scanning.


When you should undergo bone density test

  • When you are age 65, regardless of risk factors.
  • Postmenopausal with at least one risk factor for osteoporosis, including having fractured a bone.
  • Vertebral abnormality.
  • Use of medications like steroids, thyroid hormones.
  • If you have type 1 diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease thyroid disease.
  • Family history of osteoporosis.
  • Early menopause.

Complications of osteoporosis

  • Pain.
  • Fractures.
  • Loss of height.

Treatment

  • Hormone therapy.
  • Biphosphonates: It inhibit bone breakdown and preserve bone mass.
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators like Raloxifene.
  • Calcitonin: A hormone produced by thyroid hormone. It reduces bone resorption and may slow the bone loss. It prevents spine fractures and provides some pain relief from compression fractures.
  • Vitamin D.

Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Maintain good posture. Avoid stress on your spine. Place a rolled towel in the small of your back while sitting or driving. Avoid leaning while reading or doing work. When lifting, bend at your knees, not at your waist and lift with your legs, keeping the upper back straight.
  • Prevent falls: Wear low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles. Avoid walking over slippery surfaces which may cause you fall. Install grab bars inside and outside the shower door.
  • Manage pain.