Osteoporosis, what are its complications?

Osteoporosis is a disease in which there is a decrease in bone density. It is a pathology with a high prevalence. Its incidence has grown exponentially in recent years.

It mainly affects women after menopause, although it can also do it before or affect men, adolescents and even children. It affects around 40% of women older than 60 years.

Osteoporosis it leads to an increase in the fragility of the bones. Therefore, there is an increased risk of fractures. In this article we explain what it is and what its complications are.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a process in which bone density decreases. This is synonymous with weakening of the bones.

Bones, in order to maintain their density, need an adequate supply of minerals. The body regulates the process of bone remodeling thanks to a series of hormones such as parathyroid hormone, estrogen, testosterone and calcitonin. Other substances such as vitamin D are also involved.

Bone remodeling involves a process of bone renewal. In young people, more bone is formed than destroyed. This is why bone density increases progressively up to 30 years or so. However, as of that moment, the process of bone destruction exceeds that of formation.

In this way, Bone density gradually decreases physiologically. If the organism can not maintain adequate bone formation, the loss of density becomes very noticeable. Finally, osteoporosis forms.

The aging, falling estrogen or vitamin D deficiency they are determinants in the process. Therefore, the incidence in menopausal women is so high. In menopause, estrogen falls, which further reduces bone formation.

Further, There are other influential factors such as alcoholism or some drugs. For example, glucocorticoids also reduce bone formation.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis usually does not manifest symptoms until the loss of density is very severe. Then bone fractures appear. The most frequent are the vertebral and hip. It also highlights the Colles fracture, which occurs in the wrist.

It usually produces back pain and, even, loss of height. It ends up adopting a stooped posture and, in addition, there is joint stiffness. Fractures occur almost spontaneously or after very minor trauma.

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What are its complications?

Osteoporosis can affect the quality of life of a person. It can completely alter your lifestyle, since can become disabling. In this way, the physical activity of the person decreases.

This can cause a weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease or diseases such as diabetes. On the other hand, fractures produce intense pain that also greatly influences the quality of life.

Osteoporosis frequently causes hospitalizations. This is because, as we have mentioned, hip fractures are one of the most frequent complications. These fractures usually require surgical intervention and hospital admission.

It should also be noted that There is a certain risk of death. It occurs mostly due to vertebral fractures. It is not only due to the fracture, but to the risk of the intervention or to possible later complications.

Treatment of osteoporosis

The aim of the treatment is to reduce the number of fractures that occur due to fragility. It is recommended to bring a diet rich in calcium and stop drinking alcohol.

Further, it is important to perform daily exercise. It has been shown that this reduces the number of falls and strengthens the bones. You can use calcium and vitamin D supplements.

On the other hand, there is a treatment that reduces the loss of bone mass. It's called antiresorptive treatment. They are drugs such as bisphosphonates, estrogens and modulators of their receptors. Drugs that help bone formation, such as teriparatide, are also used.

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In conclusion

Osteoporosis is a very prevalent pathology that can have a very negative impact on the person's life. Thus, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Further, it is necessary to go to the doctor before any doubt. He will know what are the best measures to avoid possible complications.