Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. Those who suffer from the disease are highly susceptible to breaks and fractures resulting from falls. However, in more severe cases, victims can suffer broken bones from sneezing or extreme coughing. There are two classes of osteoporosis: primary and secondary. Primary osteoporosis is the most common and is age related. Secondary is not as common and develops as the result of chronic disease or certain medications.
In the early stages, there are no signs and symptoms of osteoporosis. As a result, many people are not aware until they break a bone. However, as the disease develops, signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include a fracture or break as mentioned above. Fractures or breaks are usually the result of seemingly routine activity and not the result of injury due to a major physical incident. Spinal deformity and severe back pain are also symptoms for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes compression fractures of the vertebrae. As a result, vertebrae collapse and compress the nerves of the spine. This can cause mild to severe pain in the back and extremities. Additionally, symptoms for osteoporosis may cause a loss in height. Fractures throughout the spine cause the spine to curve, developing a hump in the upper back region. The resulting forward lean can cause neck pain and breathing difficulty. Despite the debilitating condition which results from the disease, there are many osteoporosis treatments.
Treatment of osteoporosis does not reverse the condition. Osteoporosis treatment includes taking Actonel, Boniva and Fosamax which are drugs designed to slow the process of bone degeneration. However, patients must understand more is not better. If taken in excess of the prescription, these medications can cause ulcers in the throat. Reclast is another treatment for osteoporosis. It is typically given once per year. It reduces the chance of fractures throughout the body by increasing bone strength. All osteoporosis treatment is designed to either slow the process of bone degeneration or to increase bone strength. Side effects vary from skin rashes to nausea and light-headedness.
Preventative treatment of osteoporosis includes exercise. Starting an exercise program in youth or young adulthood is beneficial for many reasons. However, increased bone strength and thickness is one of the most valued benefits. Weight bearing exercise strengthens bone and reduces the chance of developing osteoporosis. If adults continue to exercise throughout their lives, they severely reduce the chance of developing the disease. However, exercise is encouraged at any age or stage of osteoporosis. Exercises included weightlifting and walking. These are weight bearing exercises which decrease the development of the disease. Functional, balance and postural exercises are done with those who have the disease. This improves muscle strength and balance and reduces the chance of fractures by maintaining balance and not falling. Other osteoporosis treatments include taking calcium and vitamin D.
Medical research agrees more work needs to be done regarding future study of osteoporosis. Little research has been done regarding the effects of osteoporosis upon the male population. Future study and treatment for osteoporosis includes more studies with men. Being that osteoporosis is more predominant in the female population, more research has been done. However, osteoporosis affects approximately 2 million men over age 50. Professionals have found OST trials to be very cost effective in future male osteoporosis studies. Future studies will also continue to compare and cross reference screening strategies to determine the best use of funds for study. Until such time, preventative measures are strongly encouraged. Anyone who experiences a fracture or break from seemingly routine activity or who suspects early osteoporosis should consult their physician immediately. Prevention and early detection are always the best course of action.