Osteoporosis means porous bones, a condition in which bones become thinner and weaker making them prone to fractures. It is an age-related disorder and seen in about more than 50% of people above the age of 50, with females being more prone than males. Osteoporosis makes the bones so brittle that even a mild fall causes them to break. Osteoporosis related fractures are most commonly seen in the hip, spine and wrist.
Like all tissues in the body, the bone also changes over time. The body removes damaged bone and replaces it with new bone every 7-10 years in adults. This bone remodeling is balanced up to the age of about 30 years. After that there is an imbalance and the body is unable to replace the old bone at the same pace. This leads to a loss of bone density that decreases the strength and quality of the bones. Other factors that can cause osteoporosis include genetics, poor nutrition, menopause, comorbidities and sedentary lifestyle.
A diagnosis of osteoporosis is made based on a medical examination, history – past and family, and the presence of any other conditions that can lead to it. The diagnosis is confirmed by a test called as bone mineral density scan. This scanning uses a type of X-ray known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). The results of this scan are given as a T score or a Z score which helps in comparing the bone mass.
Recent advances in treatment not only prevents bone loss but also promotes formation of new bone. This combined with lifestyle modifications and medications can help prevent Osteoporosis.