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Osteoporosis is more common than most other serious diseases. Like a thief in the night, it weakens the bones by slipping away with their substance. Its victims remain wholy unaware that they are losing bone. Little by little, for years. They do not feel sick. The weak bones produce no symptoms, until one suddenly breaks.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility, so that a minor accident could cause a fracture. One in three women over 50 has osteoporosis. One in eight men over 50 also has the disease.
Statistics related to hip fracture are disturbing. Seventy percent of these are osteoporosis – related. Hip fractures result in death in up to 20 percent of the cases.
Bone is a living tissue composed of an organic part (collagenous protein), and mineral part, composed of mostly calcium and phosphate.
You achieve the maximum strength and density somewhere around the age of 20. After that, bone mass usually stabilizes for several years, and then starts to decrease. In general, you lose 1% of your total bone mass a year. In women the rate of loss increases dramatically after menopause to 2% to 3% per year, and even more. The result may be a thinning of the bones, referred to as osteoporosis.
Are you at risk ???
This is the main point in this pamphlet, I believe. The answer can be achieved through evaluating your own risk by reviewing the following
Common risk factors:
Prolonged sex hormone deficiencies (missed periods).
Ovary removed, or menopause before age 45.
Not enough calcium in your diet.
Limited exposure to sunlight or insufficient vit. D in your diet.
Not enough physical activity.
Family history of osteoporosis.
Thin, “small- boned “.
Caffeine (more than three cups a day of coffee or tea or cola).
Alcohol (direct effect on bone building cells).
Smoking ( nicotine)
Excess use of certain medications (cortisone, anti – convulsant, thyroid hormone, aluminum containing antacids.
Hyperparathyroidism (over function of parathyroid glands ).
Decreased estrogen levels in women or decreased testosterone level in men.
The more risk factors you have the greater your risk of developing osteoporosis, and should be tested for bone loss. Treatment with different types of medications (including hormone replacement therapy). Is individual, depending on your own medical history and the result of densitometry.
The other part of treatment is physical activity, that has been shown to be an important factor in increasing our bone mass and reducing the rate of bone loss with age. The best kind of physical activity is weight – bearing- activity like walking, running, and sports like tennis, badminton, basketball, football, etc.
Walking is probably the most recommended weight – bearing- activity-. It requires no special skills or equipments, and can be done almost anywhere by just about any one, regardless of age. Numerous studies on osteoporotic women and men had shown that weight –bearing exercises not only prevent bone loss but may also increase bone mass.
Osteoporosis can be stopped, and treated.
Wide range of medicines is available. Together with physical activity, we can stop the disease progress and even improve the condition. Osteoporosis investigation is easy, short, and needs no preparation. The examination is called densitometry, and the machine is called densitometer. It provides high accuracy, needed for determination of medication quantity, and later, the very delicate measurement of therapeutic response.
Dr. TAREQ KHALIFEH
S W E D I S H BOARD OF RADIOLOGY
SWEDISH BOARD OF NEURORADIOLOGY
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