Osteoporosis disease; is a bone disease that leads to the weakening of the bones. Ultimately, it increases the risk of fractures and can have serious consequences on the lives of people who suffer from it. But what causes osteoporosis, and how is it treated?
1. Definition of Osteoporosis disease
This is a decrease in bone density. If this pathology is partly linked to genetics (60%), the rest is linked to the environment and in particular food. Indeed, bone capital is generally created in childhood and adolescence. Also, the peak of bone mass is expected around 20/25 years, then decreases thereafter. In women, menopause greatly increases the risk of osteoporosis.
2. Osteoporosis disease causes
Bone is a living tissue, constantly changing. Thus, there is a balance in the body between creating new bone tissue and destroying it in a continuous process called “bone turnover.” Specialized cells are involved in this phenomenon; the osteoclasts responsible for degrading old bone and the osteoblasts whose role is to reconstruct it.
In young people, the formation of new bone tissue is very important, superior to the destruction of the old bone tissue, which allows the skeleton to grow in children and adolescents. Then, in adulthood, the destruction of the old bone (also called resorption) and the formation of new bone are balanced. Finally, as we age, the balance tips in favor of resorption, resulting in a progressive loss of bone density called osteoporosis. Bone remodeling is under the control of various molecules, including hormones.
3. What are the risk factors for Osteoporosis disease?
There are several risk factors for osteoporosis.
First, the menopause is a major risk of developing pathology for women. Here, the sudden drop in the production of sex hormones, estrogens, promotes the destruction of bone. This osteoporosis is described as “primary.” This type of osteoporosis can also affect men during aging (andropause), by analogous mechanisms.
Second, osteoporosis disease may be the result of other illnesses or treatments. Thus, long-term corticosteroid use, prescribed for various chronic inflammatory diseases (COPD, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, etc.) or certain anticancer hormone therapies may constitute a risk factor. Endocrine pathologies (linked to hormones) also have negative consequences on bone quality, such as hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, hypogonadism (insufficient secretion of hormones by the sex glands, testes or ovaries ) or in women menstrual disturbances or anorexia.
Lack of vitamin D or calcium can also worsen bone loss.
Tobacco and alcohol also have detrimental effects on bone quality, especially as those who abuse it tend to have poorer quality food and lifestyle. Physical inactivity and excessive thinness are also cited by Health Insurance as factors that increase the risk of developing the disease.
Finally, genetic factors are also believed to be involved in the development of osteoporosis. Disease
4. Symptoms of Osteoporosis disease
Osteoporosis disease is a silent disease. The signs of which are a pain related to fractures or a loss of size greater than 4 cm (often linked to a vertebral fracture that has gone unnoticed).
Wrist fractures are often the first to appear.
The pathology has a real impact on the quality of life; certain fractures, such as those of the neck of the femur, can have an impact on the patient’s autonomy.
5. How is the Osteoporosis disease diagnosed?
Faced with a suspicion of the disease, the practitioner will mainly use an examination to diagnose osteoporosis; bone densitometry. Here, X-rays are used to measure bone mineral density (or BMD) in several parts of the body. The value obtained is then compared to the average calculated for young adults. We then draw a score, the T-score. Between – 1 and -2.5, there is osteopenia (decrease in bone density that precedes osteoporosis); below -2.5, there is osteoporosis.
In younger patients or premenopausal women, another score can be used, the Z-score, the calculation of which is more complicated.
The treatment of osteoporosis disease begins with the adoption of certain rules of life. That is to say, a varied diet rich in calcium. It is also important to fight against sedentary lifestyle by exercising and going out every day because the vitamin D provided by solar radiation protects the skeleton.
On the other hand, there are several drug treatments for osteoporosis disease. The practitioner can resort to therapies that slow down bone destruction, such as bisphosphonates (which slow down cells responsible for bone resorption) or denosumab (monoclonal antibody binding to osteoclasts to block their activity). Other molecules also exist, such as teriparatide (which works like parathormone, a hormone that stimulates bone formation) or raloxifene (a hormone treatment).
7. Prevention from Osteoporosis disease
– Eat foods high in calcium
– Stock up on foods rich in vitamin D
– Favor foods rich in vitamin K
– Don’t skimp on foods rich in vitamin C
– Proteins (Meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, pulses…)
– Salt, limit your consumption of salt and salty products.
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Originally published on Live Positively.