Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become weak and more likely to break. Bones are made of living tissue that contains the minerals calcium and phosphate. The body continuously reabsorbs (loses) and builds new bone tissue. In healthy people, this process balances each other. Over time, this makes the bone stronger and more dense. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone breaks down faster than it builds. As the bone breaks down, small holes are created in the bone. These holes make the bone softer and less dense. Osteoporosis causes fractures, usually in the hip, spine and some wrist bones. These fractures often cause pain and may limit your activity level. The risk of osteoporotic fractures increases with age, but can happen at any age.

People with Osteoporosis cannot feel the bone breaking and may not know they have Osteoporosis until a fracture happens, such as a backbone or spinal (vertebral) fracture. Osteoporosis is also known as the silent disease because a person may not have any symptoms until a bone breaks. This can happen with a fall or, in some cases, from sneezing or minor bumps. About 20 percent of people who break a hip due to Osteoporosis die within one year. Other complications include immobility and the need for long-term care such as nursing home care.

Causes of Osteoporosis

There are many things that increase the chances of developing Osteoporosis. These include:

  • Lack of calcium and vitamin D – The body needs these minerals to build and keep healthy bones. Symptoms of deficiency are not always obvious, but can be managed with a healthy diet and some vitamins and supplements.
  • Menopause – The female sex hormone oestrogen is important for keeping bones strong. When women go through menopause, their oestrogen levels decrease rapidly, increasing the chance of osteoporosis. This is particularly true for women who have a hysterectomy, where the ovaries are removed, or a nipple removal (ovariectomy).
  • Other medical conditions – Some diseases or treatments can lead to osteoporosis. These include:
  • Some medicines – Antibiotics used to treat certain infections, such as Lyme disease; cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy; some blood disorders, such as multiple myeloma; and bariatric surgery or anorexia or bulimia (eating disorder).

Treatment for Osteroporisis

The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting enough calcium and vitamin D through food or supplements, and exercising regularly as recommended by your health care provider. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol use also helps. Osteoporosis medication can reduce your risk of fractures and improve your quality of life. Talk to your doctor about which medicine is right for you. There are different types of osteoporosis medicines and the one that is most suitable for you depends on several things, including your age and how much bone you have lost. Your doctor may also recommend surgery to help repair a broken bone or correct a curved spine.

Should you wish to discuss your condition with an experienced Australian trained Doctor or expert in this area. Please book in for an online and Telehealth consultation. Phenix Health is always available when you need us 24/7. Contact bookings@phenixhealth.com.au