Osteoporosis affects mainly the elderly, and women in particular. The lack of symptoms makes it difficult to detect the disease, which can cause a loss of autonomy. What are the preventive treatments and medication existing at the present time ?
What is osteoporosis ? What of its cause ?
Similar to joint disease, osteoporosis is a bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in the density of the bone, and by a modification of its structure. The bone becomes progressively more fragile, and the risk of fracture increases over time. The disease mainly affects women, especially after menopause. However, men are not spared although they develop osteoporosis at a later age.
Many of the risk factors involved in the emergence of the disease : aging causes a natural decrease of bone mass, early menopause in women, the predisposition due to family history, lack of physical activity, a prolongation prolonged as a result, a deficiency of vitamin D or calcium, and a slimming excessive, excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Osteoporosis can also be helped by a treatment with steroids or certain diseases of the endocrine glands.
Osteoporosis, a disease without symptoms
Silent disease, osteoporosis has no obvious symptoms if there is a vertebral compression, and is proven to more often than not the result of a fracture caused by minimal trauma, or spontaneous fracture that can not be explained by any trauma. Therefore, it is up to the patient and the treating physician to discuss the disease when multiple risk factors are combined. Fractures the most common with osteoporosis are vertebral fractures, hip fracture, and wrist fracture.
The diagnosis of the disease is determined by a measurement of the mineral density of bone, called bone densitometry. Performed on two different parts of the body (the spine and the neck of the femur), it consists in subjecting the bone to a low amount of X-rays : the less the bones are dense, the less they are able to absorb the rays. The score obtained is then compared with a reference value to determine the level of bone fragility, and the appropriate treatment.
The treatments available for osteoporosis
The treatment of osteoporosis is focused on the prevention of fractures, which can be particularly debilitating in the elderly and cause a loss of autonomy. The treating physician will offer the patient a healthier lifestyle and a more balanced diet : the final cessation of smoking, reduction of alcohol consumption, regular physical activity, correction of the deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, etc …
The treatment also involves taking a drug which is spread over several years in order to stimulate the production of bone and limit bone loss. The commonly used drugs for osteoporosis are bisphosphonates, which have the effect of reducing the risk of a vertebral fracture or a femoral neck fracture. Other products are used such as raloxifene, strontium ranelate, teriparatide and denosumab.
Although osteoarthritis andosteoporosis are two diseases that are very common in the elderly and cause similar difficulties, it is very rare that older patients are achieved simultaneously by the two pathologies.