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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterized by loss of total bone mass, due to which bones become fragile and break even under light loads. The most common fractures are fractures of the femoral neck or spine, but there are fractures of other skeletal parts. Basically, osteoporosis affects women (especially postmenopausal) and old people.

Osteoporosis  is a disease that results in a reduction of bone mass per unit volume. This leads to a reduction of strength and bone density and increases risk of fractures, which become a major complication of osteoporosis.

In case of osteoporosis, the deformation of the skeleton occurs, the vertebrae become flattened, the spine - curved. Flattened vertebrae begin to compress the spinal roots, and this often leads to the fact that they break down, especially in the lumbar region, in consequence, there is pain in the back and limited mobility.

Women suffer from osteoporosis more often than men. Most often, this disease begins to develop among women with the onset of menopause. The woman in this period has reduced production of female sex hormones, which regulate metabolism in bone tissue, and protect women from osteoporosis. In the first 5 years after menopause, the female body loses up to 2-3% of bone mass per year: bone mineral density decreases and they become thinner.

Another cause of osteoporosis is the lack of calcium in the body. Excessive coffee, smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, as well as diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid, asthma, prolonged intake of a number of hormones accelerate bone loss.

The development of osteoporosis is also influenced by genetic predisposition. Genetic factors determined the bone mineral density for 60-80%. In addition, there is a rare genetical forms of osteoporosis - Lobstein syndrome, or syndrome of "osteogenesis imperfecta", in case of which there is observed increased fragility of bones from birth and even prenatally.

Osteoporosis can be identified and diagnosed at an early stage by using bone densitometry (measurement of bone density). The most often are used  ultrasound and X-ray densitometry, these surveys allow to painlessly and quickly determine the condition of the bone tissue. To identify the complications of osteoporosis - fractures, is used x-ray, but to diagnose osteoporosis using this method is not possible.

The consequence of osteoporosis is fractures of long bones and vertebrae. More common are fractures of the forearm, followed by the worst case:a hip fracture, the elderly are subjected to it.

In half of cases osteoporosis has no symptoms, and fractures without preceding trauma are the first clinical manifestation. In other cases, common symptoms are typical pain in the lumbar and thoracic spine, which are intensified after a long stay in one position or low physical activity.

The main treatment for osteoporosis is directed at maintaining normal content of calcium in the body and normalization of bone metabolism. Mainly are used drugs containing vitamin D and calcium. Women are sometimes prescribed hormones. Treatment is carried out over a long period of time, continuously or rate. The duration of use and the dose is determined by the physician.

In addition to drug treatment, it is necessary to create conditions that will facilitate full absorption of calcium by the body, which comes to the bones in the required amount. First priority should be to ensure adequate intake of calcium in the diet. Calcium is found in milk, cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, fish, vegetables, beans, grains, nuts and dried fruits. The daily requirement for calcium is around 1,000 mg, for comparison, 100 grams of these products contain from 100 to 3000 mg of calcium.