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Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density and the thinning of bones that occurs over time. It especially affects women and those women who are slight of build have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis. It is a very common bone disease with about one out of 5 women in the US having osteoporosis. Those over 50 years of age are the most likely to get the disease. Ultimately half of women past the age of 50 will suffer from wrist, vertebral or hip fractures sometime in their life.

Osteoporosis can occur when bone is reabsorbed by the body or when new bone fails to form on the body. Both conditions can occur simultaneously. You need a good amount of calcium and phosphorus in order to make new bone. If you don't get enough calcium, for example, you don't make bone and the bones weaken. As you get older, more calcium and phosphate are leached from bones. The bones become more fragile and brittle and they are more likely to break, even without any injury. Women often fracture their bones even before they know that they have the condition.

The major cause of osteoporosis is the lack of oestrogen after menopause and the drop in testosterone in men. Men tend not to get the disease until after age 70. Other things that contribute getting osteoporosis include being bed-confined, having rheumatoid arthritis or chronic kidney disease, taking corticosteroids for more than three months at a time and having hyperparathyroidism.

The disease is more common in Caucasian woman who have a family history of osteoporosis. Other risks include having absent menstrual periods for a long time, being an alcoholic, taking hormone treatment for breast or prostate cancer and having a low body weight. Smoking puts one at risk for osteoporosis and having a low calcium diet.

Symptoms in early osteoporosis are usually absent. As the disease progresses, there is bony pain or bone tenderness along with fractures of bone. Height can diminish by as much as 6 inches in a lifetime and there can be low back or neck pain because of osteoporosis. It is not uncommon to have a stooped posture or kyphosis of the back.

The best tests for osteoporosis include plain film x-rays which show very light bones with minimal mineralization. A bone density test or DEXA scan can tell the density of the bone. A spinal CT will show loss of mineral density of the bone and spine or hip x-rays can be done to define the degree of bone loss.

The treatment of osteoporosis involves controlling the pain people get from the condition and the use of medications and lifestyle changes that will slow or stop bone loss. There are medications you can lose to strengthen the bone and you need to minimize the risk of falls. Medications can be used to tret osteoporosis or to treat osteopenia (thinning bones but not to the level of osteoporosis).

Medications known as bisphosphonates are the usual drugs used to prevent and treat the condition of osteoporosis. These include Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel which are taken every week or once per month. Some are given intravenously.

Calcitonin is used to slow bone loss and to improve bony pain. It is usually given as a nasal spray or is given by injection. Hormone replacement therapy can be done for osteoporosis condition but its use has been limited recently due to other side effects. A medication called Forteo is used to treat postmenopausal women with severe osteoporosis. It is given via an injection given beneath the skin.

Evista or raloxifene is used to prevent and treat osteoporosis. It is related to the hormone Tamoxifen given to breast cancer patients. It has the ability to reduce spinal fractures by up to 50 percent. There is a small risk of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs if you take Evista.

Exercise is a good treatment and preventative for osteoporosis. This includes aerobic exercise and weight-bearing exercises. You need also to consume a diet that is high in calcium. You can take calcium supplements with vitamin D as well.

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Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our personal injury solicitors operate a specialist medical negligence compensation service. Our Osteoporosis solicitors deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don�t win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost with no further obligation just complete the contact form or email our lawyers offices or use the helpline and an Osteoporosis solicitor will review your medical negligence compensation claim and phone you immediately.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here