Osteoporosis-“A Silent Killer ”

By: Dr. Abhishek Kr. Pandey, Medical Correspondent-ICN

LUCKNOW: Our skeleton is a natural storehouse of two minerals- Calcium and phosphorus. Throughout a humans life, bone changes their shape, size and position constantly while undergoing the process of bone remodelling. A human skeleton normally attains its peak strength when an individual is suffering from any medical problems, or is on medication or had a history of accidental fractures or any nutritional deficiencies.

Many of us seen our grandparents struggling to walk, with a never ending complaint of pain in their joints. Even the younger generation, especially in their 20s-30s, face frequent joint pains at such a young age. Most of us ignore it or learn to live with the pain by trying some medicines and home remedies for a temporary relief. Such symptoms which often ignored , they appear later with sudden fracture of bones or with a silent damage to body’s structural framework.

A disease compromising the bone strength among the elderly, where bones become porous, brittle and predisposed to fractures, is termed as Osteoporosis. It is a systemic skeletal disease condition known to affect all genders and age groups.

The process of Bone remodelling and resorption is a continuous cycle which occurs due to the osteoblast and osteoclast cells. Osteoblast is bone forming cells and osteoclast is bone resorbing cells.

What osteoporosis does to your bones ???

Every bones outside portion is a tough dense cortical bone and inside consists of honeycomb network of intersecting plates called trabecular bone. Osteoporosis devours away both the bones causing larger than normal pores and decreases the bone strength and density by weakening it slowly. Bones without cortex and trabeculae are like building without support beams. These bones may easily crack and there is increase risk of fractures especially bones of hip, spine, wrist and forearm.

Osteoporosis is of 2 types- Primary or postmenopausal or senile due  to ageing, hormonal imbalances in females etc. and Secondary Osteoporosis due to lifestyle habits, nutritional deficiencies, bacterial and viral infections, hormonal disorders and due to certain drugs like opioids, immunosuppressive drugs, narcotics etc.

Osteoporosis can’t be reversed. The damage done to the bones can’t be undone, but it’s symptoms are treated and prevented by medications, monoclonal antibodies, bisphosphonates, oestrogen etc. that  inhibit osteoclastic activity and stop bone loss. Menopausal hormone replacement therapy with oestrogen and progestin is given to women’s to preserve existing bones and to prevent fractures.

PREVENTIVE TIPS-

  1. Consume diet rich in calcium like green leafy vegetables, dairy products , salmon etc. which helps in bone formation.
  2. Regular bone weight bearing exercises must be done.
  3. 15 to 20 min. exposure to sunlight must be practiced everyday.
  4. Women’s particularly should take oestrogen rich diet.
  5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking completely.
  6. Proper medication and nutritional supplements must be taken on time as prescribed by physician.
  7. Regular check-ups and follow- ups to be done.

Females are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis later in life as they will undergo menopause and therefore advised to go for regular check-ups analysing bone health after 40 yrs. of age. Even if there is no problem of bones, every individual must take it as a responsibility to discuss their bone health with a physician as they go older.