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Essay/Term paper: Osteoporosis

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Medicine

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Osteoporosis is a significant health problem that affects more than 25 million
women in the United States and potentially 200 million worldwide. This disease
is characterized by diminishing the structure of the skeleton (particular the
"spongy" bone). This results in an increased risk of fracture. Osteoporosis
develops silently over a period of years, eventually progressing to a point
where a fracture can easily occur causing pain and disability. This disease is
characterized by low bone mass and structural worsening of your bones, leading
to bone fragility. There is an increased chances of damaging the hip, spine, and
wrist .

Twenty-five million Americans are affected by Osteoporosis, making it a major
public health problem. 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women. One
out of every two women and one in five men have an Osteoporosis-related fracture.
By age 75, one third of all men will be affected by osteoporosis. While
osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person's disease, it can strike at
any age. Osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures annually,
-more than 300,000 hip fractures
-500,000 vertebral fractures
-200,000 wrist fractures

Certain some people are more likely to develop Osteoporosis than others. These
factors can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis.
-A family history of fractures in elderly women
-Use of certain medications
-Chronically low calcium intake
-Thin and/or small bones
-An inactive lifestyle
-Cigarette smoking
-Excessive use of alcohol
-Advanced age

Women have approximately 10 to 25 percent less total bone mass at maturity than
men, making them more open to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is often called the
"silent disease" because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know
that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden
strain, bump, or fall causes a fracture or a vertebra to collapse. Once your
vertebrae collapses you would feel it in the form of severe back pain, loss of
height, stooped posture or dowager's hump.

Building strong bones, especially before the age of 35, can be the best defense
against developing osteoporosis, and a healthy lifestyle can be critically
important for keeping bones strong. So to help prevent osteoporosis:
-Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium
-Exercise regularly, especially weight-bearing activities
-Don't smoke
-Limit alcohol intake

Although there is no cure for Osteoporosis, there are treatments available to
help stop further bone loss and fractures. Estrogen replacement therapy is the
most popular treatment for osteoporosis. Studies have shown that estrogen can
prevent the loss of bone mass in women. Another treatment used by both women
and men for Osteoporosis is Calcitonin. This drug slows bone breakdown and also
can reduce the pain. Medical experts agree that Osteoporosis is highly
preventable. Specialized tests called bone density tests can measure bone
density in various sites of the body. With the information obtained from these
bone mass measurements, physicians can assess an individual's bone density and
predict the likelihood of fractures. However commitment to Osteoporosis
research must be significantly increased. It is reasonable to say that with
increased research, the future for definitive treatment and prevention of
osteoporosis is very bright. Several medications like vitamin D are currently
under investigation and may someday be used as a better treatment or even a cure
for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented and treated. This is a disease
in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented ,
osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Millions of people
all over the world are at risk. While women are five times more likely than men
to develop the disease, men also suffer from osteoporosis. Building strong
bones, especially before the age of 35, can be the best defense against
developing osteoporosis, and a healthy lifestyle can be critically important for
keeping bones strong. There are some things you can do to make sure you wont get
osteoporosis like exercise and a good diet.


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