Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that affects the bone density of women -primarily white women over the age of 50. Bone loss generally occurs over several years, and there are no early signs or symptoms of osteoporosis to look out for. Once the bones become brittle and fractures or breaks begin to show up, the disease is already in later stages and cannot be reversed.
There are several factors that affect bone health and can increase the chances of developing osteoporosis, including medications, long-term bed rest, arthritis, eating disorders, vitamin D deficiency, and thyroid issues. There are also several risk factors to watch out for, including amenorrhea, family history, previous hormone treatment for prostate or breast cancer, smoking, low body weight, not enough calcium (poor nutrition), or drinking large amounts of alcohol over long periods of time. Those who fall into a high risk category or have experienced some or all of the symptoms of osteoporosis should receive an osteoporosis bone density test in order to determine how much calcium is in the bones and whether osteoporosis is indicated. Your doctor can then recommend preventative measures to minimize the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis and treatment options that may help slow bone loss. It is possible, however, that bone density tests will indicate osteopenia (low bone density), even though full-blown osteoporosis is not indicated. Proper osteopenia treatment can help minimize the chances of developing osteoporosis.
Once a formal diagnosis has been made via bone density testing and/or x-rays, your doctor will recommend an appropriate treatment plans. Treatment for osteoporosis is typically geared toward controlling pain, stopping or slowing bone loss, and preventing fractures. There are new osteoporosis treatment options coming available all the time, as advances in research are made. There are also several natural treatments for osteoporosis. Natural treatments include herbal remedies, changes in diet, increased exercise, and the use of progesterone creams. Even when natural remedies are followed, however, symptoms should continue to be monitored by a physician.
With proper treatment osteoporosis can be managed and a good quality of life can be maintained. However, this involves giving up any bad habits that might lead to complications with osteoporosis, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as maintaining a proper regimen of diet, exercise, and medication. Learning as much as you can about osteoporosis,osteoporosis prevention, and treatment options can be your best line of defense against this disease and the debilitating affect it can have on the lives of those who suffer from it.