Osteoporosis / Osteoporotic fracture

What is Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, also known as the silent disease.

It has no symptoms and it is detected only when someone suffers a fracture, in which case the disease is already at an advanced stage. This is why prevention is considered to be much more important than treatment. The term “osteoporosis” means the reduction in bone density which, combined with the disruption of bone microarchitecture, increases their fragility (weakens the bones) and may result to an osteoporotic fracture, also known as collapse of the vertebra. Osteoporosis is now a common disease in both women (1 out of 2) and men (1 out of 5) over the age of fifty.

Aggravating factors are:

  • Heredity
  • Low body weight
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Use of certain drugs for a long time (cortisone, antidepressants, etc.)

As well as diseases like:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Diabetes mellitus etc.

Proper nutrition, exercising since childhood and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements in adult age, avoiding aggravating factors, as well as preventive examinations of bone density, reduce the chance of osteoporosis.

What are Osteoporotic Fractures?

Osteoporotic fractures are caused by osteoporosis, which is defined as the reduction in the density and quality of the bone, resulting in fractures even in the absence of injuries. In this case, a fracture may be caused by something very simple, such as a sudden move, a stoop, coughing, or even trying to reach something overhead. Quite often, a vertebral collapse causes pain, which starts as minor or moderate and slowly subsides. As times goes by, however, in most cases, pain persists for a long time or it gradually worsens.

Every time that a vertebra collapses, the nearby vertebrae bear more load. Thus, a fracture may create the conditions that lead to more collapses. This results in the spine losing its alignment and no longer being properly supported, starting to bend forward, creating permanent kyphosis (hunchback) as well as height loss. When this happens, problems arise in our everyday lives, both with breathing as well as other simple activities, such as bathing, getting dressed, walking, etc.

The first step to deal with an osteoporotic fracture is an immediate diagnosis by a specialist.

The problem can be usually dealt with by limiting the person’s activities, and in many cases by supporting the spine using orthopedic braces of the trunk. There are also cases where surgical treatment is required.

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