If you are an older woman and you have learned that you have osteoporosis, don’t panic! There are several things that you can do to halt or minimize the progression of this disease. However, it is important to give a word of wisdom on the steps that any woman can do to help prevent this disease. The symptoms of osteoporosis are not the typical in your face signs that you might recognize in other conditions, such as a sudden growth, or even chest pain that can signal other gastro or heart related disease. No matter the age, every female should be aware of the different influences which include the medicinal and medical diseases associated with the development of osteoporosis. Remember treatment with medications can go a long way in coping with the effects of osteoporosis. Also, taking steps early can lessen the severity because of an informed mind about prevention.
What is Osteoporosis?
The word osteoporosis means a thinning of bone. But it does not begin with the exterior of the bone. The lack of calcium, phosphorus and other need minerals are what begin to break the bone down internally, this occurs because of a multitude of reasons. It can be compared by analogy to the building material industry. For example, when steel is used to support a structure, and it is exposed to the elements of rain over a continual time frame, rust will begin to set in and eventually corrode the outside and weakening the frame, allowing for collapse. However, with osteoporosis the opposite point of origin for deterioration begins – from the inside!
Signs and Symptoms
The danger of the early stages of osteoporosis is that it goes un-noticed, and therefore un-treated. Whether osteoporosis is caused by treatment with medications for other diseases, the effects of disease there are some overt symptoms that do occur once the bones are beginning to be affected by osteoporosis. Some of the later signs are:
o A shorting in height because the bones are becoming depressed from loosing mass in the neck, spinal vertebra and hips. A noticeable stooping and the osteoporosis hump will begin to develop in the upper mid back area. Constant back pain will accompany the continuing deterioration.
o Continual fractures or breaks of bone anywhere in the body, especially in the wrist, hips or feet.
General Exposure Risks
Knowing what to look for concerning your potential risk of developing osteoporosis is the first step toward halting its progression if it does develop. Some of the general causes are:
o Gender – Because women are born with lower bone mass, live longer and will go through menopause, they are more inclined to develop osteoporosis.
o Genetics/Family History – If there is a family member that has developed it, you are at a higher risk, for example a mother, grandmother or older sibling.
o Tobacco Use
o Menstrual Issues – If problems occur such as earlier or later than normal menstruation, fluctuations in cycles, or a decrease or stoppage in cycles because of surgery before your mid forties you are at risk.
o Alcoholism – Alcohol prevents the bones ability to absorb vitamin D and other essential minerals. Also, alcohol raises blood pressure and increases kidney function whereby the loss of calcium is flushed from the body quickly, preventing a lack of absorption.
o Chronic Caffeine Consumption
o Lack of Vitamin D
There are many conditions that require certain medications which interfere with bone mass, and the deterioration that leads to osteoporosis. Some conditions occur earlier in the life span of a woman, or disease later in life. However, a general knowledge of the different diseases, medicinal treatments, and their potential effects for the development of osteoporosis or its progression, is the key to a longer life and a healthier one too. Here are a few conditions and medications that you will want to talk with your specialist or family physician about concerning osteoporosis.
o Liver or Kidney Disease
o Diabetes I
o Cronh’s Disease
o Cushing’s Disease
o Use of corticoids such as Prednisone for arthritic diseases such as Lupus or Scleroderma
o Use of the drug Methotrexate for cancer or arthritic disease
o Use of blood thinners such as Heparin for heart disease
o Use of diuretics for heart, kidney or asthma disease such as Lasix
o Menopause either surgically or naturally occurring, and the lack of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)
Medications which Promote Healthy Bones
So, what can you do to promote health bones and ward off the debilitating effects of osteoporosis? There are numerous drugs on the market that can slow the damaging effects of this disease for those that already have symptoms and are unable to take HRT. Listed are the drugs used to fight bone thinning.
Personal Plan of Attack on Osteoporosis
Even if you already have osteoporosis there are certain things that you can do to help you adjust and cope with everyday life. Remember all of these tips are good for you even if you do not have osteoporosis, and will help ward off the intensity of the disease if you do develop it later. Here are a few tips.
o Continue to obtain correct amounts of calcium and vitamin D
o Exercise as directed by your physician
o Stop smoking
o Stop consuming alcohol
o Stop drinking caffeine
o Eat a well diet
o Manage your pain
o Prevent falls which will further damage bones and mass
This is Personal
Advanced technologies and understanding in medicine, science and the advent of the information generation have allowed women to learn about their bodies and increase life spans. Our goal should be to take control so we can live happily and pass on our knowledge and experience to the younger women in our lives. Thank goodness you do not have to live as your grandmother did because of a lack of knowledge in medicine or treatment. Osteoporosis is not you, nor does it control you! Learn and be informed because it’s personal – it’s about you.