Prevention released an article, a few months ago, that has a lot of good information on Osteoporosis and things about this crippling condition that many aren’t told or simply, don’t know about. We share with you some of the information provided on MSN/lifestyle’s page.
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass leading to an increased risk of fracture of the hip, wrist, or spine. It’s said to be the most common disease in humans, and can actually shorten people’s lifespan. Ten million people currently have osteoporosis in the U.S., and 18 million more are at risk of developing the disease. Another 34 million Americans are at risk of osteopenia, low bone density, which also can lead to fractures and ultimately develop into osteoporosis. A decline of estrogen in women is causing a rise in more people developing the disease.
Osteoporosis is silent.
- Your first indication of either may be a fracture or loss of more than 2 inches in height(!).
- There are many known risks, including being on high doses of steroids, having an eating disorder like anorexia, or weighing less than 127 pounds.
- A family history, fair skin, and poor nutrition, especially a lack of dairy foods high in calcium are also risk factors, as are cigarette smoking and high alcohol consumption.
- There are drugs, called biphosphonates, that are meant to treat low bone density. These drugs prevent bone loss by inactivating the osteoclast, a type of bone cell that reabsorbs bone tissue, or by preventing its formation. Other medications promote bone growth-they can actually make new bone.The FDA has made frequent warnings about these drugs, including bone, joint, and/or muscle pain, esophageal erosions, heartburn, arrhythmias, or rapid heartbeat. “Most drugs are only safe within the window of study by the FDA and that is usually 3 years,” says Joseph Lane, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of The Metabolic Bone Disease Service at the Hospital For Special Surgery/Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “Beyond that point, the skeleton is altered and adverse events can occur, such as femoral fractures and osteonecrosis of the jaw, or weakening, and ultimately death, of the jaw bone. Patients who have been taking these drugs should be carefully reviewed after 3-5 years and a new decision made as to whether they should be continued, stopped, or changed.” “You’re balancing the risks and benefits,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School in New Haven, CT. “Oral bisphosphonates, like Fosamax and Actonel, can bother the esophagus. That category also carries a very slight risk of jaw problems and so-called atypical fractures. But they’re very rare.”
- Patients are rarely prescribed medications. “In general, when I diagnose osteopenia in my patients, we sit down and have a good talk,” says Minkin. “If she’s smoking, can she stop or at least cut down? Is she getting in calcium-rich foods? Is she taking her vitamin D? Is she doing weight-bearing exercises regularly-I’m a big nut on strength training. I encourage all my patients to go to the gym and exercise.”
Good diet, exercise, adequate calcium intake, normal vitamin D levels, and taking precautions at home so you don’t fall are important.
Photo courtesy of Bing via moziru.com