Osteoporosis: Symptoms and Treatment

Osteoporosis is a progressive type of disease characterized by serious consequences and marked features of its own course, as well as a «porous» type of bone damage. Osteoporosis, the symptoms of which are, first of all, in the defeat of the skeleton, also leads to a decrease in bone tissue density with a simultaneous disruption of their structure.

General Description

Osteoporosis, which significantly increases the risk of bone fractures, is also characterized by poor splicing, and, moreover, it happens that splices do not occur at all, the reason, as you might guess, is the actual insufficiency of bone tissue.

A fracture in osteoporosis can be provoked even by a minor effect, which makes it possible to initially determine the possible presence of this disease. There is osteoporosis due to the characteristic changes that occur in the hormonal system, as well as the changes noted in the metabolism.

Women are mainly affected by osteoporosis. As a precursor of this disease is osteopenia, which occurs without symptoms, but also damaging the bone, and even women of young age are exposed to destructive bone damage.

It is noteworthy that both osteopenia and osteoporosis patients can be exposed to both sexes and different age groups. Moreover, even the active way of life can not exclude the relevance of this disease — it can simply «hide», later appearing in the most, as it might seem, an unexpected moment.

As a rule, the visible manifestations of this disease are absent, except that with the passage of time, thoracic kyphosis or weight loss can be noted, which can be attributed to other factors of influence. Be that as it may, the first «bell», to which it is important to pay attention, is a painful fracture, which, as we have already noted, appears often with little impact.

In case of osteoporosis, bone loss is also important, and it occurs for a long period of time, counted in years. The consequences of the course of this disease are extremely serious, because the progression of this type of loss to the body leads to the fact that even a slight pressure on standing, sitting or even when embracing or coughing can lead to a pronounced and painful fracture. Such a fracture can even deprive certain mobility of the corresponding area of ​​the lesion.

Already further, since the first such type of fracture, patients are increasingly at risk and, correspondingly, the occurrence of fractures, as a result of which they subsequently experience daily chronic pain. The end result of this disease can be disability, depriving the sick of independence and significantly limiting their lives.

Osteoporosis: Risk Factors

This disease, as, indeed, and almost any other disease, determines some of the risk factors that provoke its occurrence and development. In particular, such factors include the following:

  • Sexuality. As we have already noted, women are more predisposed to this disease, moreover, osteoporosis in women develops four times more often than, respectively, in men, which, however, does not exclude the possibility of this disease and in the latter
  • Genetic predisposition. The possibility of osteoporosis as an effect of such a factor as heredity is not ruled out. Thus, if the mother of the patient has had back injuries or frequent fractures, and if the actual osteoporosis itself was diagnosed, the chance of osteoporosis in the patient itself is significantly increased due to an increased risk of a characteristic reduction in bone mass with the subsequent appearance of fractures.
  • Age. With age, the risk of developing osteoporosis is greatly increased. For example, women over the age of fifty are particularly at risk, although, as we have already noted, osteoporosis can occur regardless of gender or age.
  • Features of bone structure, weight A greater risk of developing this disease is observed in lean and miniature women. In addition, with weight loss in women over the age of fifty, they significantly increase the risk of hip fracture, but if the weight increases, this, in turn, reduces such risk. By the way, this trend also applies to lean thin-boned men.
  • Presence of fractures in the past. If there are earlier fractures in patients, the risk of their greater occurrence will increase again.
  • The use of certain medications. And this factor may have a certain effect on the risk of developing osteoporosis. In particular, such drugs include steroids, oriented to long-term administration, drugs used in the treatment of thyroid diseases, antacids, anticonvulsants, etc.
  • Menstrual irregularities.
  • Longevity of a way of life.

There are also such factors, which are defined as modifiable, that is, they are subject to immediate impact on them, respectively, can exclude this disease in certain cases. These factors include the following:

  1. bad habits (alcohol, smoking);
  2. caffeine abuse
  3. lack of mobility;
  4. Vitamin and calcium deficiency;
  5. exclusion or inadequate consumption of dairy products
  6. excessive consumption of meat products

Types of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, under the influence of one or another reason, is accompanied, as we found out, by a violation of bone architecture, resulting in the bones acquiring a loose consistency, determining a greater risk of fractures against this background even under the influence of minimal loads. Based on the main factors affecting, these types of this disease are distinguished:

  • Older osteoporosis. The disease is associated with the aging of the body as a whole, as well as with the deterioration of the body in combination with a decrease in the strength of the skeleton and a decrease in weight during this period.
  • Post-menopausal osteoporosis. In this case, osteoporosis develops as a result of decreased production of sex hormones.
  • Corticosteroid osteoporosis. As the name suggests, as a result of prolonged use of hormonal drugs (glucocorticoids in particular).
  • Secondary osteoporosis. In this case, an osteoporosis develop as a complication of other diseases for which particularly relates diabetes, Bechterew’s disease, cancers, calcium deficiency, chronic renal failure, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, pulmonary disease, Crohn’s disease . Also, the development of this type of osteoporosis is accompanied by long-term use of drugs, which include aluminum.

Osteoporosis: Symptoms

Osteoporosis is more dangerous in that it is characterized by an asymptomatic own course or a course with symptoms that mask it for arthrosis or osteochondrosis. Predominantly, the diagnosis of the disease is possible already at the time of the appearance of fractures of this type, as we considered earlier (that is, with minimal impact).

The first symptoms of osteoporosis can be manifested by pain in the thoracic and lumbar regions, this pain arises as a result of prolonged static loads (i.e., with sedentary work, etc.). Cramps of the legs, noted at night, may also appear. The nails become brittle, are exposed to stratification. Appears senile stoop, growth due to a decrease in vertebral height, decreases.

It is noteworthy that it is precisely because of this vertebral «subsidence» and there is the possibility of early detection of osteoporosis. The body weight, which was already noted by us, is decreasing. There may be fatigue, the curvature of the lower extremities, heart palpitations, and some other indirect evidence, on the grounds of which it can be assumed relevance for osteoporosis patients.

Symptoms of osteoporosis also manifest themselves in the form of constant pain in the waist and back, including in the interblade area. It does not exclude manifestations characteristic of periodontal disease in combination with the formation of excessive dental plaque, which are also relevant precisely because of osteoporosis in patients. If the spine is curved forward, it also makes sense to suspect the disease in question.

Osteoporosis: complications

Often, fractures of the femoral neck and vertebral bodies, as well as fractures of the radial bones, are identified as complications. WHO data indicate that the disabling and fatal result is the area of ​​the femur fractures due to osteoporosis, a disease that puts on the 4th place among the causes that can lead to similar results. Life expectancy in the presence of osteoporosis on average decreases to 20%.

The formation of the primary fracture of the spine increases the risk of subsequent fractures of the spine four times, and simultaneously it doubles the risk of a hip fracture. In the case of prolonged bed rest, the possibility of developing pneumonia and thromboembolism, as well as pressure sores, is not ruled out.


Diagnosis of osteoporosis is carried out in a complex manner, taking into account the fact that, in isolation, the procedures relevant to this can not be reliable, which, for example, is relevant for radiography, the use of which does not allow determining the initial forms of the disease or osteopenia. So, if we are talking about the loss of bone mass in the range of up to 30%, then the radiograph will simply not detect it, therefore it can be used in this case as an additional method for diagnosing the general condition.

The standard procedure for the diagnosis of osteoporosis is osteodensitometry (or x-ray dual-energy densitometry, DEXA). In this case, the assessment of bone mass (non-invasive type) is performed with measurement of its immediate mass, as well as mineral bone density.

As an indication of the procedure for densitometry, the following states are taken into account:

  1. early menopause;
  2. Anorexia
  3. secondary amenorrhea (long-term course)
  4. renal failure (chronic)
  5. hypogonadism (primary)
  6. Hyperparathyroidism
  7. reduced testosterone (actual for men in particular);
  8. hypotrophy;
  9. Estrogen deficiency;
  10. the presence of diseases that can be associated with osteoporosis (spondyloarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteochondrosis, etc.)
  11. therapy with corticosteroids

Osteoporosis: treatment

It should be noted that the treatment of the disease in question is quite a complex issue, in which a complex intervention of a number of specialists is necessary.

The treatment aimed at achieving stabilization of those indicators that are relevant for bone metabolism is oriented, in addition, it is important to achieve and slow the loss of bone mass, while preventing the appearance of fractures against these backgrounds. It is also necessary to reduce the concomitant pain syndrome and increase the overall motor activity of patients. The types of therapy for osteoporosis are as follows:

  • The etiological therapy — is focused on the treatment of the disease, which is the main disease in osteoporosis, that is, it provoked it.
  • Pathogenetic therapy — is to apply pharmacological methods in the treatment of osteoporosis.
  • Symptomatic therapy — is aimed at eliminating the acute pain syndrome.

Complete recovery from osteoporosis as a whole is impossible, accordingly, the treatment of osteoporosis allows only to a certain extent to improve the general condition of the patient in part of his bone system, which uses drugs that affect the absorption of calcium and its absorption, as well as the actual calcium preparations.

Additionally, the corresponding diet for osteoporosis is being developed. First of all, it is to saturate the diet with products with vitamin D and calcium. Such products include dairy products, nuts, greens, broccoli, cabbage and fish. The sun’s rays also make it possible to replenish the stores of vitamin D, which is also taken into account in the general mode of the patient.

A certain variety is also required in physical activity, especially with prolonged loads arising during sedentary work, etc. Walking is shown, which has a corresponding effect on the bones. It is noteworthy that the strengthening of bones is not promoted by swimming, which is explained by the lack of the required effort in a weightless state when in the water necessary for bone structures.

If osteoporosis is symptomatic, it is necessary to consult specialists such as rheumatologist, neurologist, immunologist and endocrinologist.