Health In Focus With Dr Zulfikar Bux
Today we will talk about this condition that has the potential of obstructing an individual’s daily routine. So troubling it could be that it is my hope that this article can help someone safeguard themselves. The condition for which I bring you details today is called Osteoporosis.
WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis is a disease that makes your bones weak. People with the disease can break their bones too easily. For instance, people with osteoporosis sometimes break a bone after falling down at home.
Breaking a bone can be serious, especially if the bone is in the hip. People who break a hip sometimes lose the ability to walk on their own. Many of them end up in a nursing home. That’s why it is so important to avoid breaking a bone in the first place.
WHAT ARE SOME RISK FACTORS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS?
· Age. After maximum bone density and strength is reached (generally around age 30), bone mass begins to decline naturally with age.
· Gender. Women over the age of 50 have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, women are four times more likely than men to develop it. Women’s lighter, thinner bones and longer life spans are part of the reason they have a higher risk.
· Ethnicity. Research has shown that Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Additionally, hip fractures are twice as likely to occur in Caucasian women as in African-American women.
· Bone structure and body weight. Petite and thin women have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. One reason is that they have less bone to lose than women with more body weight and larger frames. Similarly, small-boned, thin men are at greater risk than men with larger frames and more body weight.
· Family history. Heredity is one of the most important risk factors for osteoporosis. If your parents or grandparents have had any signs of osteoporosis, such as a fractured hip after a minor fall, you may be at greater risk of developing the disease.
· Prior history of broken bones.
· Cigarette smoking. Smoking puts you at higher risk of having osteoporosis and fractures.
· Alcohol. Heavy alcohol use can lead to thinning of the bones and increase your risk of fracture.
· Certain Diseases. Some diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis increase the risk for osteoporosis.
· Certain medications. The use of some medications -for example, the long term use of steroids such as prednisone – can also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis does not cause symptoms until you break a bone. But your doctor or nurse can have you tested for it. The best test is a bone density test called the “DXA test.” It is a special kind of X-ray.
Experts recommend bone density testing for women older than 65. That is because women in this age group have the highest risk of osteoporosis. Still, other people should sometimes be tested, too. Ask your doctor or nurse if you should be tested.
Some people learn that they have osteoporosis because they break a bone during a fall or a mild impact. This is called a “fragility fracture,” because people with healthy bones should not break a bone that easily. People who have fragility fractures are at high risk of having other bones break.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP MY BONES AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE?
* Eat foods with a lot of calcium, such as milk, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables
* Eat foods with a lot of vitamin D, such as milk that has vitamin D added, and fish from the ocean
* Take calcium and vitamin D pills (if you do not get enough from the food that you eat)
* Be active for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week
* Avoid smoking
* Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
DO YOUR BEST TO KEEP FROM FALLING
It sounds simple, but you can prevent a lot of fractures by reducing the chances of a fall. To do that:
* Make sure all your rugs have a no-slip backing to keep them in place
* Tuck away any electrical cords, so they are not in your way
* Light all walkways well
* Watch out for slippery floors
* Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with rubber soles
* Have your eyes checked
* Ask your doctor to check whether any of your medicines might make you dizzy or increase your risk of falling
CAN OSTEOPOROSIS BE TREATED?
Yes, there are a few medicines to treat osteoporosis. These medicines can reduce the chances that you will break a bone.
Doctors usually suggest trying medicines called bisphosphonates first. If those medicines are not sufficient or if they cause side effects that you cannot stand, there are other medicines to try.
HOW WILL I KNOW THE TREATMENT IS WORKING?
Doctors often order bone density tests to check if osteoporosis medicines are working. These are the same tests they use to find osteoporosis in the first place. Sometimes a blood or urine test is also needed
If you think you are at risk for osteoporosis, then get screened early to decrease your chances of breaking your bone(s) which can leave you incapacitated.