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Osteoporosis is a systemic disease of the skeleton, which leads to bone fragility and causes fractures. The disease is a consequence of the loss of bone density and strength, generating an alteration of the bones architecture, these becoming thinner and thinner with the inside soft and porous .Usually, bones weaken when the levels of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals in the bones are low. The disease can also accompany endocrine disorders or can be the result of an excessive use of drugs such as corticosteroids. Even if it's often thought of as a women's disease, it also affects a large number of men.
Osteoporosis can appear at any age, but usually older persons get it, especially women past menopause. Normally, there is loss of bone mass with aging, perhaps 0.7% per year in adults. The process of bone remodeling normally takes about 8 months--a slow but constant process. Bone in older people just isn't as efficient as bone in younger people at maintaining itself--there is a slow activity of osteoblasts and a slow production of growth factors and bone matrix.
Bones that are ill of Osteoporosis can break with only a minor fall or injury that normally would not lead to a bone fracture. The fracture can be either in the form of cracking (as in a hip fracture), or collapsing (as in a compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine). The spines, hips, and wrists are usual areas of bone fractures, although fractures can also occur in almost any skeletal bone region.
Osteoporosis means `porous bone` and it’s known to be a silent disease because the bone loss takes place without symptoms. People don’t realize they’ve got it until a sudden fall or minor accident causes a fracture. Some of the fractures may slip detection until years later. Therefore, patients may not be conscious of their illness until they get a painful fracture. Then the symptoms are related to the region of the fractures.
Fractures of the spine can cause major "band-like" pain that goes around from the back to the side of the body. In time, many spine fractures can lead to chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height or curving of the spine, which gives the patients a hunched-back look often called a "dowager hump.”
A fracture that takes place during the course of usual activity is called a minimal trauma fracture. For example, some people with this disease get stress fractures of the feet by just walking or stepping off a curb.
Hip fractures usually occur as a result of a fall. With Osteoporosis, hip fractures can happen as a result of trivial events. Hip breaks may also be difficult to recover after surgical repair because of poor bone feature.
Patients who have had a fracture are at high risk of getting another one. A simple test that measures bone mineral density (BMD) at distinct parts of your body, like your spine and your hip, can help determine if you have the disease. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is the best test to determine BMD.