An Overview of Osteoporosis

By Amelia Son, PTA, Site Coordinator

Overview of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that affects the density and quality of one’s bones. The word itself literally translates to “porous bone.” With the decrease in 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, and the most common fractures that occur.

Image of the rib cage

Osteoporosis is an orthopedic condition that may need medical attention.

Risk Factors of Osteoporosis

Bones develop in size and strength from 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. Multiple medical conditions can affect this remodeling progress making the effects of osteoporosis occur faster.

Some conditions are:

  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Digestive and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Cancer.
  • Blood and bone marrow disorders.
  • 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 is 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 people with osteoporosis. The risk for fracture increases with age in both women and men but is 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, other sources of proteins are available to eat and supplements to take. Vitamin D is also important 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 bodyweight down and exercise regularly. There needs to be a healthy balance of weight-bearing exercises and strength training to keep bones healthy and muscles strong. It is best to consult with an MD to discuss plans and possible treatment options for all disorders and diseases.  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. 

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

By: Amelia Son, PTA 

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