Focus On Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a widespread condition characterized by low bone
mass or density. It is primarily a metabolic disorder related to age and
general health with a variety of risk factors and causes. The most common and well-known
consequence of osteoporosis is weakened bones that can break from small forces
that would usually be harmless.
In osteoporosis, both the matrix of the bone (similar to
scaffolding) and the density of the bone are affected. While bone seems like a
static part of our body, bone is continuously laid down and removed by our
bodies. In osteoporosis, there is an imbalance between the growth and reduction
in the bone where the bone becomes progressively weaker. As such, it is a
progressive disorder that worsens with age, and while the disease process might
begin much earlier, symptoms are usually only noticed over the age of 50.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Often called a silent disease, many people with osteoporosis
will have no idea that they have the disease, as there are no visible symptoms.
Sometimes the first sign that an individual has osteoporosis is when the first
bone breaks; unfortunately, these bones are also slower to heal than healthy
bones which can lead to ongoing complications. Broken bones are not the only
symptom of osteoporosis, as bones lose density and strength, they can also
become compressed and develop wedge fractures under the weight of the
When the spine is affected by osteoporosis, people may develop a
hunched or stooped posture, which can itself lead to respiratory issues and
places pressure on the internal organs. Osteoporosis can severely impact a
person’s mobility and independence, which can have a distressing impact on
their overall quality of life.
What causes it?
As a metabolic disorder, osteoporosis can be caused by any
process that interferes with the body’s ability to maintain bone density. This
includes gastrointestinal conditions that prevent adequate absorption of
calcium, required for bone growth, lack of dietary calcium or low levels of
vitamin D, which are essential for the absorption of calcium. Some medications
can contribute to bone loss as an unfortunate side effect, especially if they
are taken for a long time or in high doses. A well-known example is the
long-term use of steroids which are prescribed for long periods to reduce
Inactivity can also predispose a person to osteoporosis as bones
respond to force and weight-bearing by building more bone. Having a sedentary
lifestyle or choosing activities with low levels of impact can mean that
without the weight-bearing stimulus to make bone, bones are less dense over
time. Osteoporosis is a common issue for elite cyclists and swimmers, who are
more likely to develop the condition if they don’t also include weight-bearing
activities such as jogging in their training program.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can help you to improve your overall bone health,
avoid or recover from fractures. Physiotherapy exercises can direct you to
safely increase your weight-bearing, which can help build bone mass. Balance
training is also an important factor as this can reduce your risk of falls.
Your physiotherapist can also help you to adjust your lifestyle, at home or at
work, to protect your bones and improve your posture.
None of the information in this newsletter is
a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for
advice on your injury.
If you need any further information, please
the clinic on 02892 666959, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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