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Osteoporosis in Australia

Osteoporosis in Australia

May 17, 2024 admin 0 Comments

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones weaken, significantly increasing the risk of breaking a bone even after a minor fall or bump. The key facts about osteoporosis are:

  • Osteoporosis means “porous bone”. Healthy bone looks like a honeycomb, but in osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger, making the bones less dense and more fragile.
  • It is prevalent, affecting about 54 million Americans and placing them at increased risk of bone fractures, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist.
  • Osteoporosis is a severe condition, as broken bones can lead to permanent pain, loss of mobility, and even death in some cases — 20% of seniors who break a hip die within a year.
  • It is often called a “silent disease” because there are usually no symptoms until a fracture occurs. Risk factors include age, gender, diet, medical conditions, and certain medications.
  • Osteoporosis can be prevented and treated through lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and medications that slow bone loss or stimulate new bone formation.

In summary, osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, significantly increasing the risk of fractures, and can have serious health consequences if left untreated.

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What Causes Osteoporosis?

The fundamental causes of osteoporosis include:

Sex & Age

Women are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis, especially after menopause, when estrogen levels decline. Bone loss also naturally occurs as people age, starting around age 35.

Body Size & Race

People with smaller body frames and those of white or Asian descent are at higher risk.

Family History & Genetics

Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis, especially a hip fracture, increases the risk.

Hormonal Changes

Conditions that affect hormone levels, such as low sex hormones, thyroid disorders, and overactive parathyroid glands, can lead to bone loss.

Certain Medical Conditions

Diseases and disorders that affect the digestive, autoimmune, blood and bone marrow, and neurological systems can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Lifestyle Factors

A sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, eating disorders, and certain medications like corticosteroids can contribute to osteoporosis.

In summary, the primary causes of osteoporosis are related to sex, age, genetics, hormones, medical conditions, and lifestyle factors that lead to decreased bone density and strength over time.

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How is Osteoporosis Treated?

Osteoporosis is primarily treated through the following methods:

Medications

Bisphosphonates (e.g. alendronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid) are the most widely prescribed medications for osteoporosis, as they help slow bone loss.

  • Other medications include denosumab, teriparatide, and abaloparatide, which can help build new bone.
  • The choice of medication depends on factors like fracture risk, patient age, and ability to tolerate oral therapy.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Diet changes to ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.
  • Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises to maintain bone density.
  • Fall prevention measures like home safety modifications.

Supplements

Calcium and vitamin D supplements may be recommended, especially for those who cannot get enough from diet alone.

Monitoring & Follow-Up

  • Regular bone density scans to track changes in bone mass.
  • Ongoing evaluation of fracture risk and treatment effectiveness.

The primary goal of osteoporosis treatment is to reduce the risk of fractures by maintaining or increasing bone density and strength. Treatment is often tailored to individuals based on their specific risk factors and needs.

Osteoporosis & Dr Clem Bonney

Dr Bonney assists those with osteoporosis by encouraging weight-bearing exercises and diet changes and assessing suitability for various medications. Dr Clem Bonney, as a GP and Occupational Physician, can assist individuals to remain safely engaged in the workplace to reduce risk and harm