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Osteo- bone, porosis- condition of spaces within bones which causes them to become weak.
It is defined as decrease in bone mass which increases bone fragility and thus cause them to fracture easily. This may be age related or may be due to some secondary conditions [hormonal imbalance, prolonged bedrest, malignancies, steroid intake, drugs and medicines, etc]. However, most commonly it is an age related phenomenon.
This usually affects post- menopausal women. This is because of the loss of protective hormones which maintain bone health after menopause. This is extremely common and needs treatment to lower the incidence of fragility fractures. Just like diabetes – it is a ‘silent killer’ and just causes vague bone pains, until the fracture occurs. These fractures may occur due minor injuries like slip and fall, twisting injury or even a simple jerk while travelling. The most common places of fracture are the spine, wrists and hips. Thus all women who have suffered from osteoporotic fracture or aged more than 65 years should have a DEXA scan done.
This scan is just like an X-ray and helps to quantify the loss of bone mass. Depending on the values, your doctor might prescribe you an anti –osteoporotic treatment which may range from oral tablets to once daily injections. Mind you- calcium and Vit D tablets don’t treat osteoporosis, however they supplement its treatment. Apart from this a healthy lifestyle- nutritious food and exercise are must to maintain good bone health.
Osteoporosis being a medical disease is usually treated with medicines. However, if the collapse is significant, causes neurological compression or does not heal causing severe pain despite adequate medications- doctor might advise you surgery. This may be done through minimally invasive techniques like Vertebroplasty / MIS fixation or Anterior/ Posterior Cervical/Thoracic/ Lumbar Decompression and Stabilization surgery.