From left to right: normal vertebrae, vertebrae with osteoporosis and osteoporotic vertebrae several diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually done by your doctor using a combination of a complete medical history and physical examination, bone X-rays, bone densitometry and specialized laboratory tests . If the doctor finds low bone mass, you may want to order additional tests to rule out other diseases that can cause bone loss, including osteomalcacia (vitamin D deficiency) or hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid gland).
Bone densitometry is a safe, painless X-ray technique that compares your bone density with average bone density that someone of the same sex and ethnicity should have reached over the age of 20-25 years.
Women are often performed in the beginning of menopause. Several types of bone densitometry are used today to detect loss of bones in various parts of the body. Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (also known as DXA, its acronym in English) is one of the most accurate methods. Other techniques can identify osteoporosis, including single photon Absorptiometry (SPA, its acronym in English), Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT, its acronym in English), Absorptiometry X-rays and ultrasound. Your doctor can tell which method would be best for you.
Treatments for osteoporosis are mainly preventive and focus on slow or stop the demineralization process.
Below are some of the treatments that can be used for the treatment of osteoporosis are specified:
Bisphosphonates are a type of drug used for both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Both bisphosphonates used for osteoporosis are etidronic acid, risedronic acid and alendronate.They act to prevent bone loss and thereby reducing the risk of fractures. Side effects are usually mild, among others, gastric discomfort and irritation of the esophagus. Should be taken on an empty stomach and ingestion of food and fluids should be avoided for at least half an hour.
Raloxifene is a type of hormonal treatment used in postmenopausal women. It produces an increase in bone density and decrease of osteoporotic fractures. The most serious side effect of raloxifene is slightly increased risk of venous thrombosis and pulmonary, especially during the first four months of treatment. Both raloxifene and bisphosphonates should be used only under prescription and following a rigorous control.
Hormone replacement therapy
The decrease in estrogen that occurs in women after menopause affects bone density. It is therefore recommended that the use of hormonal replacement therapy in recent years, and based on previous studies. However, in July 2002, it was decided to suspend a large study that was done on 161,809 women registered side effects. These include an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes. Women who are taking hormone treatment planning should discuss with your doctor and follow rigorous controls.
Calcitonin, may be administered by nasal or injection. It is a medicine that slows the rate of bone loss and relieves bone pain. The main side effects are nasal irritation from the spray form and nausea from inject able form. It is less effective than estrogen replacement therapy or bisphosphonates and much more expensive.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of osteoporosis associated with bone fractures. Some of the recommended exercises include:
In general exercises that could cause falls should be avoided.
The response to treatment can be monitored with measurements of bone mineral density in number every one or two years, although such monitoring is controversial and expensive. Also, women who take estrogen mammograms, pelvic exams and Pap smears should be routine.
The most important complication is certainly fractures. The most common are hip and the crushing of the vertebral bodies. Hip fractures due to osteoporosis, are responsible for about 50% of the elderly are incapacitated to walk unaided.
There is a lot you can do throughout your life to avoid osteoporosis, stop its progression and protect yourself from fractures. Include adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D in daily food.
A muscle and bone they need exercise to stay strong. No matter your age, exercise can help you reduce bone loss while providing many additional health benefits. Doctors believe that a moderate exercise program (three or four times a week) is effective for the prevention and management of osteoporosis.
Programs that emphasize balance training, such as Tai Chi, should be considered. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
The rheumatologist’s role in treating osteoporosis
As a specialist trained to assess rheumatic diseases, rheumatologists can differentiate osteoporosis diseases that cause bone loss and establish and monitor a therapeutic program. Rheumatologists are active agents in educating the general public and other physicians about this serious health problem.