What Are The Indications Of Osteoporosis? How Can One Navigate Life With This Condition?


Osteopenia, or early bone weakening, is usually the first stage of osteoporosis progression, leading to osteoporosis, or severely damaged bone health

Dr Raghavendra H, Consultant – Rheumatologist, Manipal Hospital, Hebbal shares how can one navigate osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, characterized by weakened bone density, presents a significant health concern, particularly among the elderly population. Due to hormonal fluctuations, this disorder is frequently linked to postmenopausal women. It causes bone demineralization, which increases the risk of fractures and other consequences. Although it’s commonly assumed that males may not get osteoporosis, a large number of men do, as numerous secondary variables are required to keep their bones healthy.

Understanding osteoporosis

Osteopenia, or early bone weakening, is usually the first stage of osteoporosis progression, leading to osteoporosis, or severely damaged bone health. Factors such as nutrition, hormonal imbalances, conditions like thyroid-related disorders, diabetes, other autoimmune or rheumatological conditions, medications, chronic gastrointestinal malabsorption — if their intestines are not absorbing food but they’re eating — can lead to weakening of bone health. When it is severe, it is termed osteoporosis.

When identifying this condition, if a person presents with multiple bone pains or aches across various areas, particularly in the limbs, we may suspect osteoporosis, especially if they possess risk factors such as postmenopausal age, medications, or other comorbid conditions. Subsequently, there are multiple ways in which we can evaluate for osteoporosis.

The Importance of DEXA Scans in Osteoporosis Management

Osteoporosis diagnosis is mostly dependent on diagnostic modalities such bone mineral density scans, such as Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scans. The DEXA scan is a non-invasive modality through which bone health can be identified. If bone health is significantly compromised, the DEXA scan report suggests different grades of bone weakness, and based on the severity, appropriate therapy can be determined for each individual. Therefore, identifying the condition is crucial, especially because many elderly individuals experience aches and pains, particularly those with diabetes or thyroid illnesses. There is a general assumption that as people age, their bones will naturally ache, leading many to neglect necessary steps for identification.

Early identification is crucial before the disease progresses severely for better prognosis

Early identification of osteoporosis is crucial because it allows necessary steps to be taken over a period of approximately six to 12 months to enhance bone health, subsequently reducing aches and pains. Moreover, early identification can prevent fractures, which are common among the elderly and often lead to significant morbidity, including immobility, bedsores, and a decline in quality of life for both the individual and their family. By implementing early screening for osteoporosis in the elderly population, we can maintain their bone health and mitigate the development of osteoporotic fractures, thereby significantly reducing morbidity and improving quality of life.

Treatment modalities available

Various treatment modalities are available for osteoporosis beyond routine calcium, vitamin D, and other protein supplementation, although these are fundamental for bone health. Additional injections and tablets are also available to further improve bone health.

In conclusion, understanding osteoporosis and its implications is crucial for effective management and prevention of associated morbidity. Through proactive screening, early intervention, and comprehensive treatment strategies, we can safeguard bone health and enhance the well-being of aging populations.



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