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All about osteoporosis maintaining bone health types of osteoporosis causes of osteoporosis osteoporosis risk factors risk factors for primary osteoporosis risk factors for secondary osteoporosis consequences of osteoporosis symptoms of osteoporosis diagnosis of osteoporosis osteoporosis treatments osteoporosis medications treatment for osteoporosis in men treatment for osteoporosis in women osteoporosis lifestyle therapy osteoporosis exercises osteoporosis diet prevention of osteoporosis osteoporosis and calcium osteoporosis and magnesium osteoporosis and vitamin D

What're the risk factors for primary osteoporosis?

Age. Osteoporosis is more likely as people grow older and their bones lose tissue. The longer a person lives, the higher the risk of osteoporosis. Bone density decreases partly because levels of hormones (such as estrogen and testosterone) decrease as people age. Estrogen, the main female hormone, helps prevent bone from being broken down and therefore

helps keep it dense and strong. Testosterone, the main male hormone, stimulates bone formation.

Gender. Women are more likely to have osteoporosis because they are smaller and so start out with less bone. They also lose bone tissue more rapidly as they age. While women commonly lose 30–50% of their bone mass over their lifetimes, men lose only 20–33% of theirs. Women who have produced less estrogen before menopause are at even higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Such women include those who started menstruating late, reached menopause early, or had their ovaries surgically removed (a procedure called oophorectomy) before menopause. As men age, testosterone levels usually decrease slowly. Testosterone levels may decrease abruptly if prostate cancer is treated by surgically removing the testicles or using drugs that prevent the testicles from producing testosterone. Men produce small amounts of estrogen. As men age, estrogen levels also slowly decrease. Men with low testosterone or low estrogen levels are more likely to develop ostaoporosis. Women who stop menstruating early because of heredity, surgery or lots of physical exercise may lose large amounts of bone tissue early in life. Conditions such as anorexia and bulimia may also lead to early menopause and osteoporosis.

Race. Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk for the disease, but African American and Hispanic women can get it too. Of racial groups, white people are most prone to osteoporosis. Asians are next, then Hispanics. Black people are less prone to osteoporosis, possibly because black people tend to have denser, stronger bones during young adulthood. Thus, they can better tolerate the decrease in bone density that occurs with aging and at menopause.

Figure type. Women with small bones and those who are thin are more liable to have osteoporosis. Part of the reason is that body weight puts stress on bone, stimulating it to form more bone. Also, thin women may have lower estrogen levels than heavier women, because thin women usually have less body fat. Fat tissue produces some estrogen.

Lifestyle. Physical activity affects the risk of developing osteoporosis. Bone is formed in response to weight-bearing activity (such as walking). Bone is broken down in response to inactivity. People who are less physically active throughout life are more likely to develop osteoporosis. People who smoke or drink too much, or don't get enough exercise have an increased chance of getting osteoporosis. Smoking cigarettes increases risk because it interferes with the re-formation of bone.

Diet. Diet plays an important role in preventing and speeding up bone loss in men and women. Deficiencies in or excessive amounts of certain nutrients may increase the risk for low bone density and osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, of course, are important factors in the risk for osteoporosis. Those who don't get enough calcium or protein may be more likely to have osteoporosis. That's why people who constantly diet are more prone to the disease. People who do not consume enough calcium or who have vitamin D deficiency are also more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Lack of sunlight. The photochemical effect of sunlight on the skin is a primary source for vitamin D. Bone formation peaks in the summer and bone breakdown increases in the winter. People who avoid sun exposure to prevent skin cancer may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency, particularly it they are elderly.

More information on osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is a thinning and weakening of the bones, usually associated with the aging process. Osteoporosis is a disease, often with no detectable symptoms.
Building and maintaining skeletal health - Factors involved in building and maintaining skeletal health are adequate nutrition and body weight, exposure to sex hormones at puberty, and physical activity.
What types of osteoporosis are there? - Osteoporosis can be classified in various ways based on diagnostic categories, etiology. Osteoporosis can be classified as either primary osteoporosis or secondary osteoporosis.
What causes osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is related to the loss of bone mass that occurs as part of the natural process of aging. Osteoporosis results when there is excess bone loss without adequate replacement.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis? - Many disorders are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is far more prevalent in women after menopause due to the loss of the hormone estrogen.
What're the risk factors for primary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for primary osteoporosis include age, gender, race, figure type, lifestyle, diet, and lack of sunlight.
What're the risk factors for secondary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for secondary osteoporosis include genetic disorders, hypogonadal states, endocrine disorders,hematologic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, drugs.
What are the consequences of osteoporosis? - Consequences due to osteoporosis are increased risk of fracture with minor trauma, frequency of traumatic events from lifting and bending impact.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis? - Patients with uncomplicated osteoporosis may be asymptomatic or may have pain in the bones or muscles, particularly of the back. Osteoporosis becomes apparent in dramatic fashion.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually made by your doctor using a combination of a complete medical history and physical examination.
What're the treatments for osteoporosis? - Treatment for osteoporosis includes eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, getting regular exercise, and taking medication to reduce bone loss and increase bone thickness.
What osteoporosis medications (drugs) are available? - Medications (drugs) to cure osteoporosis include bisphosphanates (Fosamax), calcitonin (Miacalcin), raloxifene, estrogen, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
How to treat osteoporosis in men? - Alendronate and teriparatide have been approved to treat osteoporosis in men. Calcitonin may work in men, treatment with testosterone appears to increase bone density.
How to treat osteoporosis in women? - The non-hormonal bisphosphonate drugs, alendronate and risedronate prevent and treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. Raloxifene is approved for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
What lifestyle changes can help osteoporosis? - Alcohol consumption should also be kept within safe limits. Supplements of calcium plus vitamin D may help maintain bone density. Limiting sodium and avoiding junk food.
What osteoporosis exercises are suggested? - Exercise is very important for slowing the progression of osteoporosis. Taking regular exercise is the single most important action improve the strength of their bones.
What osteoporosis diet is suggested? - A good calcium intake is essential throughout life for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Reducing salt may be useful for osteoporosis patients.
What can be done to prevent osteoporosis? - For prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, patients should be encouraged to stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption and perform weight-bearing exercise.
Osteoporosis and calcium - Calcium could alter the physical-chemical properties of the bone mineral. The daily recommended dietary calcium intake varies by age, sex, and menopausal status.
Osteoporosis and magnesium - Magnesium supplementation is as important as calcium supplementation in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis and vitamin D - Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones to prevent osteoporosis.
Bone, joint, & muscle disorders

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005