by Vishnuprasad on  March 4, 2015 at 7:39 PM Health In Focus
Osteoporosis: Awareness of Individual's Risk Factors Critical in Preventing Fractures
Osteoporosis remains the least understood ailment and awareness of the individual's risk factors and bone density is critical in preventing osteoporotic fractures, feel orthopaedics and spine surgeons in India.

Osteoporosis is an ailment in which the density and mass of the bones decrease leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. The condition is silent, as it does not cause symptoms until there is a fracture.

However, experts suggest a simple Bone Mass Density (BMD) test that could give a fair idea about bone density or its porosity and can help identify prognosis of disease, if any.

The proportion of the population suffering from osteoporosis has increased with the rise in global life expectancy.

"Life expectancy for both sexes rose from 65.3 years in 1990, to 71.5 years in 2013. In India, life expectancy rose seven years for men and 10 years for women. Osteoporosis usually sets in when people reach their 60s or 70s. This means the burden due to osteoporosis on individuals has greatly increased," said Dr Appaji Krishnan, Chief Spine Surgeon, of SIMS, SRM Institutes for Medical Science.

Osteoporosis affects 200 million people worldwide. In India, around 25 million people are currently suffering from the disease with increased risk of fractures.

Types of Osteoporosis
  • Primary osteoporosis
It is the most common type of osteoporosis. It is more common in women than men. In women, accelerated bone loss begins after monthly menstrual periods stop. In men, gradual bone thinning starts at about 45 to 50 years of age. Some risk factors: Inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, inactive lifestyle, small-boned or underweight body type, excess abdominal fat, smoking and drinking.
  • Secondary Osteoporosis
It can occur at any age as a result of having certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, or leukemia. This condition may result from prolonged use of medications such as glucocorticoids, when it is called steroid-induced osteoporosis.
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
It is a rare form of osteoporosis that is present at birth. It causes bones to break for no apparent reason.
  • Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis
It is also rare and occurs in children between the ages of 8 and 14 or during times of rapid growth.

However,experts say bone density loss is preventable by following some appropriate steps:
  • Get enough calcium. Some recommended calcium sources are dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables and dried beans.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight and excess abdominal fat raise the osteoporosis risk.
  • Get enough exercise. Staying active encourages bone growth and protects the bones.
  • Limit alcohol and quit smoking. Both alcohol and tobacco use can contribute to weakened bone in a variety of ways.
  • Some patients take medication to slow the loss of bone. Other drugs that help manage healthcare conditions can make osteoporosis worse. So, be cautious.
  • Make fall prevention a priority. Reduce the risk by having regular eye examinations, keeping the house and premises free of hazardous conditions.

Balloon Kyphoplasty

Balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive surgery, can repair spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis. Orthopedic balloons are used to gently elevate the fractured vertebra in an attempt to correct its position. Bone cement is then injected to stabilize the fracture. Balloon kyphoplasty normally takes up to one hour.

Balloon kyphoplasty's advantages:

  • 3 times greater pain reduction one week after the procedure.
  • Long term pain relief
  • 4 times greater quality of life one month after the procedure.
  • Restores height and corrects stooped posture.

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