Monday, 7 May 2012



A disorder where the bones are weak increasing the likelihood of breaking. Fractures can occur with even mild stress such as sitting down too hard, coughing, or bending over. The most common areas of fracture are in the back (spine), wrist and hip. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is more common in older women. The body constantly makes and resorbs bone, but as one gets older more absorption of bone takes place causing a loss of bone mass with advancing age. Other conditions can worsen this disorder including: poor nutrition, smoking, being thin, having a family history of osteoporosis, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, medications such as steroids, decreased physical activity, alcohol consumption, being of Caucasian ancestry, and drinking cola drinks.

Early in the disease no symptoms are experienced. As the bones become weaker fractures occur causing pain usually in the back, hips, and wrist. Loss of height of the back bones (vertebrae) causes a stooped posture.

A patient's maximum bone mass is established at about age 30. Treatment is aimed at reducing the loss of bone and it is never too late to start therapy. Patients with a family history of osteoporosis should see a doctor sooner and consider earlier treatment. Medications used include a group of drugs called biphosphonates. The most common biphosphonates are alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), risedronate (Actonel),and zoledronic acid (Reclast). Other medications that may be used are raloxifene (Evista), calcitonin, and teriparatide (Forteo). Estrogen therapy is sometimes used but can be associated with other complications such as blood clots, cancer, and heart disease. Physical therapy can help maintain bone strength and prevent falls.
The disorder is diagnosed by measuring a patient's bone density. The most commonly used test is dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Other Specific Tests:
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)