Awareness is the key factor that can lead to a better quality of life for individuals and improve the lives of many as a society. Women's health is a topic that has not been discussed much in society and ironically amongst women themselves as well. While working professionals including men and women ignore their health at various aspects of their lives. Most people prioritize the needs of their family over their own. World Osteoporosis Day is an initiative to ensure awareness in women and men across the world about the disease and its various aspects to ensure a better quality of life for the people living with the disease and who have been ignoring the symptoms or are not aware of the disease.
What is Osteoporosis?
A word that means "porous bone" is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced and the bone becomes very fragile with greater risk of injury. The process of loss of bone occurs silently and progressively until one day when it gets identified or until the first fracture occurs.
The bones are living tissues that change constantly since the moment of birth. Until a person reaches young adulthood, bones are developing and strengthening. The densest stage in the bones is in the early 20s called the peak bone mass.
As humans age, the process of remodelling starts to take place as the bone cells dissolve bone matrix (resorption) and new bone cells deposit osteoid (formation). The people with osteoporosis have a bone loss that outpaces the growth of new bone. The bones become brittle and porous. The daily small removal of the bone (resorption) should be in balance with the deposition of the new mineral to ensure that the bone remains dense.
The two key principle cell types called osteoclasts and osteoblasts, which are from two different origins determine the bone resorption and bone deposition. The Osteoclasts are endowed with highly active ion channels in the cell membrane that pumps protons into the extracellular space, thus lowering the pH in their microenvironment. The drop of pH dissolves the bone mineral and Osteoblasts lay down the new mineral.
The Care Gap
The fractures due to osteoporotic have a devastating impact on millions of people worldwide resulting in enormous socio-economic costs to society and healthcare systems. Around the world, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men aged fifty years are at the risk of an osteoporotic fracture. Common fractures associated with osteoporosis occur at the hip, spine and wrist. The two areas that are at greater risk of fractures occurring are hip and spine as a woman's or man's age increases.
The vertebral (spinal) and hip fractures are of particular concerns. The fractures in the spine can result in serious consequences including the loss of height, intense back pain and deformity (sometimes called Dowager's Hump). A hip fracture often requires surgery and may result in loss of independence or death.
Action Plan for Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment
Osteoporosis is a disease can be prevented with a properly nutritious diet and adequate calcium intake. Avoid the under-nutrition diet which is mostly the weight loss diets and eating disorders. Maintaining an adequate supply of Vitamin D with regular weight-bearing activity helps prevent the disease. Smoking and even second-hand smoking should also be avoided along heavy drinking to prevent the chances of the disease.
Osteoporosis is a largely treatable condition with a combination of lifestyle changes and appropriate treatment can increase the chances of many fractures. Men or women, both have chances of suffering from Osteoporosis, hence it is essential to focus on the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures due to osteoporosis for living a long and quality life.