Osteoporosis is a variety of arthritis in which the bones undergo undue calcium loss, resulting in decreased bone density. Loss of calcium and reduced bone density may cause brittle bones and fractures.
Menopause and Osteoporosis
Women are more at risk for developing osteoporosis. They become even more prone to developing it after the age of 40, after the onset of menopause. After menopause, women begin to produce less estrogen. Estrogen is involved in helping the bones stay strong since it helps retain calcium. Many women must supplement their calcium intake to ensure that they retain their bone density.
Male Bone Mass an Advantage
Men can also be affected by osteoporosis, but the number of affected men in the United States is much lower than the number of women who are affected. This is partly due to the fact that men generally have more bone mass than women. However, the normal aging process can cause osteoporosis to develop in both women and men.
Osteoporosis also tends to affect individuals with decreased muscular activity. Although it remains one of the most common forms of arthritis in the United States, increased education and public attention about this condition has helped raise awareness about the importance of prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis can be problematic for the reason that many people don’t realize they have the condition until after they suffer some kind of injury. Many times it takes suffering from a bone fracture for osteoporosis patients to receive a positive diagnosis. However, early detection and preventive measures are becoming the standard in women’s health care.
New advances in bone scanning make it possible for doctors to test their patients bone density. Early detection and treatment can slow or even completely stop the progress of the disease. If you know that osteoporosis runs in your family, leading a healthy lifestyle can help protect you from this condition.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Who is more at risk for developing osteoporosis? Risk factors include being female and roughly menopause age. Caucasian females appear to be at a greater risk. It also appears that being underweight can be a risk factor. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia may also put you at greater risk for osteoporosis. Finally, a family history of osteoporosis is a major risk factor.
What should you do if you think you are at risk for developing osteoporosis? Visit your doctor to discuss your symptoms and concerns. Your doctor will first take a full medical history and you will have to complete a physical exam.
If you feel youre at risk for this condition, your doctor will probably order a blood test analysis to check your thyroid level, your calcium levels, and to rule out other forms of arthritis. He or she may also take X-rays to view your bone density. This is done through a special X-ray machine called a bone densitometer. The bone densitometer can actually see inside your bones. This procedure is painless and an accurate method to measure your bone density.