Osteoporosis, which translates to “porous bone,” is a disease in which the body loses too much bone, produces too little bone, or both. As a result, the patient loses bone mass, and their bones become weaker and are more prone to damage and breakage.
Because women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, being aware of the causes and risk factors associated with the condition is an important part of women’s healthcare. South Lake OB/GYN is committed to helping the women we serve be the happiest, healthiest version of themselves that they can be.
What is Osteoporosis?
Bone is constantly broken down and replaced throughout a person’s life in a process called bone remodeling. Calcium is a naturally occurring mineral that is a vital part of this process. In younger individuals the breakdown and replacement of bone happens at roughly the same pace. But as people enter their mid-30s, this breakdown process begins to outpace the speed that bones are replaced, due in part to decreased amounts of calcium. As a result, the bones become thinner and weaker.
What are the Causes?
Osteoporosis has multiple causes. A few of these include:
- Menopause. During menopause, a woman’s body stops producing estrogen, which researchers believe help retain calcium in the bones. For the first 5-7 years after menopause, women lose bone density rapidly, with the pace slowly after this initial period of time.
- The Aging Process. This can cause both men and women to develop osteoporosis. Anyone over the age of 50 who breaks a bone should have themselves tested for osteoporosis.
- Medication. Certain medications can also cause bone loss. These include steroids and anticonvulsants, as well as drugs used in chemotherapy or certain medical operations.
- Certain Diseases and Conditions. Many disorders and conditions can cause bone loss. Any disease or condition that forces a patient to remain bedridden or otherwise immobile for a long time increases the risk of osteoporosis. Disorders involving the endocrine or immune system can also increase a patient’s risk.
In addition to these causes, there are a number of risk factors that people who don’t want to develop osteoporosis should be mindful of. On average, women are more susceptible to this condition than men. Among women, Asian and Caucasian women are the most likely to develop it.
Individuals who smoke, don’t exercise, or drink too much are also at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can also run in families, and people who belong to such families have a higher risk of developing it themselves.
If you fit any of these high-risk categories, it’s important that you’re tested sooner rather than later. With treatment, the acceleration of osteoporosis can be slowed dramatically, allowing you to live happily and comfortably longer. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation appointment.