An Overview of Osteoporosis

By Amelia Son, PTA, Site Coordinator

Overview of Osteoporosis

JOI Spine Physicians

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By: Amelia Son, PTA 

Osteoporosis is a bone disease which affects the density and quality of one’s bones. The word itself literally translates to “porous bone.” With the decrease of density and quality of bone, there is an increased risk of fractures occurring. Osteoporosis is a quiet and progressive disease that usually does not exhibit many symptoms until fractures occur and the bone is examined. There are multiple causes for osteoporosis and also multiple ways to decrease its effects on one’s body. The following article will discuss the most common causes of osteoporosis, some ways of prevention and diagnosis, as well as the most common fractures that occur.

Risk Factors of Osteoporosis

Bones develop in size and strength from the day of birth until young adulthood and usually peak in denseness in the early 20s. There is a process in our body that constantly occurs called remodeling. Remodeling consists of two stages which are resorption and formation. Resorption is when bone cells dissolve and formation is when new bone material is deposited. For those with osteoporosis, the dissolving stage can be faster than the depositing of new bone material which leaves the bones brittle and more prone to fractures. There are multiple medical conditions that can affect this remodeling progress making the effects of osteoporosis occur faster. Some conditions are, but not limited to, autoimmune disorders, digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, blood and bone marrow disorders, and neurological/nervous system disorders. There is also medication that can cause bone loss and speed up the process of osteoporosis. One of the most common medications that are used are steroid medications. While these medications are used for a wide variety of disorders and pain, they can increase one’s risk of osteoporosis and ultimately fractures.

Most common injuries from Osteoporosis

There are a few common fracture sites for sufferers of osteoporosis. The risk for fracture increases with age in both women and men, but are more common in women. Fractures from osteoporosis occur every 3 seconds around the world. Most of the fractures associated with osteoporosis occur at the hip, spine, and wrist. The most concerning of the fractures are the hip and spine fractures. Fractures in the spine can cause many other issues including, but not limited to, increased back pain, loss of height, and spinal deformities. Hip fractures can be more concerning and can cause loss of independence in a patient and sometimes death.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

Prevention of osteoporosis is something that should be worked on throughout one’s life. It consists of proper nutrition and exercising regularly to keep bones healthy. A good intake of protein and calcium helps with bone density. Protein is one of the main building blocks of bone. If one does not eat meat regularly due to diet restrictions or personal choice, there are other sources of proteins to eat and supplements to take. Vitamin D is also needed since it helps absorb calcium. The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. Remember to take the proper precautions for being outside and protect your skin. Another way to prevent osteoporosis is to keep body weight down and exercise regularly. There needs to be a healthy balance of both weight bearing exercises and strength training to keep bones healthy and muscles strong. With all disorders and diseases, it is best to consult with a MD to discuss future plans and possible treatment options.  Our MDs here at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute would be happy to discuss a treatment program for osteoporosis.

If you need a physical therapy appointment for your spine, go to this article about the JOI Rehab Fast Track Spine Program. 

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