Osteoporosis is a condition that gradually weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
Although this can occur in either sex, it is more common in women, especially after menopause. This is because the hormonal changes that take place after menopause lead to the weakening of bones, thereby causing Osteoporosis. This increases the risk of fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and forearms. In fact, over 40 percent of women who have undergone menopause are at the risk of developing Osteoporosis.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to lower your risk and prevent Osteoporosis. This brochure answers some of the commonly asked questions on Osteoporosis. In the following pages, you will find information on
- Causes of Osteoporosis
- Symptoms and Effects of Osteoporosis
- Detection of Osteoporosis
- Bone Densitometry
- Care and Guidance
Causes of Osteoporosis
There exists a natural cycle in our bodies that causes a continuous degeneration of old bone cells with a simultaneous building of new ones. These processes are usually in balance so that the amount of bone loss is about equal to the amount that is replaced.
Osteoporosis is caused when there is an imbalance due to which the degeneration outpaces the rebuilding.
Who is most susceptible to Osteoporosis?
Menopause is the single most important cause of Osteoporosis, but you are also at risk if you:
- Have a family history of Osteoporosis
- Had menopause before you were 45 years old
- Are thin or small in stature
- Have used steroids (commonly used to treat asthma and arthritis)
- Have used high doses of thyroid hormones
- Drink excessive alcohol
- Do not exercise enough
- Have calcium deficiency
How is menopause related to Osteoporosis?
In women, the balance between bone building and bone loss is disturbed during menopause due to the hormonal changes occurring at this time. When you are younger, your body produces hormones like estrogen to prepare you for pregnancy. During menopause, however, the level of estrogen produced in your body begins to drop. This drop leads to a faster breakdown of bone tissue, and the tissue being replaced cannot keep pace with it. In fact, during the first five years after menopause, some women may lose as much as 25 percent of their bone density. In many women, this bone loss is severe enough to make bones weak and fragile. This causes Osteoporosis.
A surgical menopause, which occurs in women who have undergone a surgical removal of ovaries, leads to similar hormonal changes and thereby increases the risk of Osteoporosis.