As people age, it helps to be aware of age-related diseases like osteoporosis, which causes bone density loss. Osteoporosis can be managed if detected in time, but usually by the time it is diagnosed, significant bone mass has already been lost. People who are at risk should get in touch with their doctor to design a treatment. If left untreated, it can lead to fractures, and is in fact one of the leading causes of broken bones and emergency clinic visits among the elderly.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis causes loss of bone density, making the bones brittle and weak. Once the bones are weakened, even small stresses can cause them to break, necessitating a visit to the emergency clinic. The wrist, spine and hip are especially vulnerable to fractures caused by osteoporosis. Bones are actually made of living tissue, which must be replaced constantly by new tissue. As people age, bone tissue does not get replaced at the rate necessary, and this weakens the bones.
Osteoporosis is one of those silent diseases which often go undiagnosed until a fracture happens. Most often, by the time the disease is diagnosed, a significant amount of bone density has already been lost. While it is a disease associated with aging, some groups are especially at risk for osteoporosis. Women, and especially women of white or Asian descent are most at risk.
Symptoms and treatment
Typically, there are no symptoms until a fracture happens. But some signs might indicate the onset of osteoporosis. Back pain. stooping and loss of height, especially among older adults, might be a sign that you need to discuss osteoporosis with your doctor in outpatient care. Other indications that a doctor should be consulted about osteoporosis are early menopause, and a family history of hip fractures.
Consultation with a doctor at an urgent care center can help to devise a treatment plan. Treatment can include a healthy diet, medication and exercises that can improve the weight-bearing capacity of the bones. Treatments are non-invasive and non-surgical and can be managed through outpatient care services.
Risk factors and prevention
Risk factors for osteoporosis can be divided into two categories, those that can be controlled and those that cannot. In the second category are factors like age, race, sex, family history and body frame. Older adults and especially women are at higher risk, especially if there is a family history of osteoporosis or hip fractures among close relatives like parents and siblings. People with smaller body frames are more at risk because they have less bone mass to fall back on.
Among preventable risk factors are hormone levels, diet, and lifestyle. People who have too little or too many hormones are at greater risk for osteoporosis, as are those who smoke, drink excessively or who do not get enough exercise. People who have had gastrointestinal surgery or eating disorders are at risk. Certain medical treatments like steroids and low calcium intake in the diet also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
A healthy lifestyle
As with so many other diseases, prevention and a healthy lifestyle are the best cure. A healthy diet with sufficient protein, calcium, and vitamin D can help maintain bone density and strength. Regular exercise, including strength training and weight bearing exercises like walking running, skipping rope and climbing stairs can also strengthen bones and reduce the chances of a fracture.
Consultation with a doctor at a women’s clinic or outpatient care services can help you to design an individualized treatment plan. It helps to make an early start to avoid consequences like broken bones and visits to the emergency clinic.
Osteoporosis is a disease that primary affects older adults. Falls and broken bones are among the leading causes of visits to the emergency clinic for this age group. A treatment plan that emphasizes a healthy diet and suitable exercise can help manage the disease.