Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the clinical condition whereby the bones become brittle and weak in which a slight stress or movement may cause bone fractures, usually occurring in the hips, wrists or spine.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis may start to be asymptomatic in the early stage of the disease. Thus, testing may be important for select individuals when identified at risk through a Health Screening during a Q and A with your doctor. In the later stages, the following signs and symptoms may be observable.

  • Back pain (collapsed vertebra)
  • Loss of height over time
  • Stooping posture (kyphosis)
  • Frequent bone fracture

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic procedures and tests may be useful in diagnosing Osteoporosis.

Single-EnergyX-Ray Absorptiometry – This measures and assesses the mineral content of the skeleton and shows areas or points of vulnerability.

DEXA (Digital X-Ray Radiogrammetry) – DEXA is the gold standard technique in diagnosis; accuracy for the hip area may exceed 90%.

Ultrasonic Bone Measurements – This technique uses ultrasound to measure offer a computed diagnosis of low bone density in osteoporosis. This method is not as accurate as the DEXA.

X-Ray – Serial X-Ray performed for certain long bones may serve as screening procedures to detect stress fractures or points with the propensity to be fractured.

Other Possible Related Conditions?

Spinal cord tears and Erb Duchenne Muscular dystrophy may present initially with recurrent pain in the back due to nerve root compression which may also be seen in the collapsing vertebrae of osteoporosis. Frequent fractures may also be observed in genetic diseases like Osteogenesis imperfect. However, the time of onset starts early in life compared to osteoporosis with late onset.

Treatment for Osteoporosis

The following treatment options may be presented to individuals that are diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Medications – The most common medications prescribed to individuals with osteoporosis are the biphosphonates like Alendronates, Residronate, Ibandronate, and Zoledronic Acid. These are popularly effective, but side effects like nausea and esophagitis may be observed.

Hormone Related Therapy – Raloxifene is an estrogen analogue used for menopausal women to increase bone density and lessen its side effects. There might be some episodes of hot flashes as a common side effect.

Teriparatide – Pharmacotherapy that powerfully triggers bone growth. Intra dermal and long acting, this treatment is often given for those who cannot tolerate biphosphonates.

Denosumab – Given intradermally every six months, Denosumab increases bone density by targeting another step in the bone remodeling process.

Outcome

Early treatment may help control and postpone the effects from Osteoporosis. Pathologic and stress fractures from Osteoporosis causes pain and potential long term disability which may markedly reduce quality of life over time and may lower life expectancy. Hip fracture may lead to fatality in an estimated 20% of cases, permanent disability may be observed in 50% of cases and recovery in 30% of cases. Individuals recovering from fractures may benefit from incorporating mindful techniques into their lifestyles, such T’ai Chi and Getting Healthy with the Arts.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.