What is Osteoporosis?
The definition of Osteoporosis is ‘porous bone’ and is a disease of progressive bone loss. Bone is composed of calcium and protein. Bones become ‘porous’ when less calcium is produced by the body or the body absorbs calcium out of the bones and is unable to replace it. Osteoporosis can lead to an increased risk in factures, most commonly compression fractures of the spine. Most patients do not realize that they have osteoporosis until they have experienced a fracture of some kind.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
While the exact cause of osteoporosis is unknown, contributing factors include:
- Decreased levels of estrogen
- Physical inactivity
- Poor nutrition
- Side effect of some medications
Diagnosis and Examination
- History and physical exam by a musculoskeletal expert
- Increased or new pain at a fracture site
- Bone densitometry
- Specialized lab test
Bone loss cannot be replaced. Treatment of osteoporosis focuses on prevention or slowing the progressive loss. Maintaining adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and exercise/physical activity is the key to prevention. Physical Therapy can provide guidance with an exercise/physical activity program.