Understanding Osteoporosis

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The word osteoporosis originates from ancient Greek, with “osteo” meaning bone and “poros” meaning pore. Therefore, osteoporosis is a condition of the skeletal system in which there are porous bones.  

Symptoms include fragile bones which are more likely to break. In fact, a broken bone is often the first indication of osteoporosis. In order to diagnose osteoporosis, a patient can undergo a bone density scan, or DEXA scan, to determine the strength of the bones and degree of bone loss.  

Women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis as bone density decreases rapidly after menopause. This is due to the decline of oestrogen in the body after menopause. Oestrogen is a key hormone for strong, healthy bones. Osteoporosis can also be genetic and there is a higher risk of developing it if there is a family history of osteoporosis. There are many other risk factors including hormone-related conditions, long-term use of other medications, heavy drinking, smoking and eating disorders. 

Osteoporosis can be treated in a number of ways. There are many types of bone strengthening medications on the market. In addition, weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging and aerobics can help prevent and treat osteoporosis. Another method of prevention is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which can be taken by women who have experienced menopause. HRT helps increase the levels of osetrogen in the body, preventing bone loss and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.