Osteoporosis

Last Update : 01 April, 2015

Osteoporosis is a disease of bones in which bone becomes soft. Sometimes patients have no symptoms.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can get Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is usually seen in women after 65 years and in males after 75 years of age.

What are symptoms of Osteoporosis?

There are usually no symptoms of Osteoporosis. Fracture occurring after minor injury makes your doctor to suspect Osteoporosis. Some elderly patients get general body pain.

How Osteoporosis is diagnosed?

Osteoporosis is most accurately diagnosed by BMD (DEXA) method. The machine measures bone strength at lower spine, hip and wrists. QCT, Ultrasonography (qualitative) are other methods to diagnose osteoporosis. Diagnosis done by Ultrasonography needs to be confirmed by DEXA method. WHO has defined parameters for diagnosis of osteoporosis.

What blood tests are needed to diagnose Osteoporosis?

No blood tests are routinely necessary for diagnosis of Osteoporosis. Calcium, vitamin D levels, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels can be done if necessary. If Osteoporosis is diagnosed at younger age; a stepwise investigations are done to find cause of Osteoporosis.

What types of drugs are used to treat Osteoporosis?

  • In first step bisphosphonate group of drugs like Alendronate, Risedronate, Ibandronate are used to treat Osteoporosis. Usually these drugs are given in weekly or monthly doses. These drugs are available usually in tablet form. They should be taken on empty stomach with large glass of water. Patient should not take tea, coffee or breakfast for 30-60 minute. They should maintain upright position for the same period. Patients who have diseases of food pipe or cannot sit for 30-60 minutes can be given injections of Ibandronate 3 monthly or Zolendronic acid every year.
  • In patients who do not benefit after adequate trial of above drugs or who cannot be given above mentioned drugs—second line drug Teriparatide is given. This drug is available in injectable form. It needs to be given daily.
  • In select group of women with early menopause Raloxifene is used.
  • Calcitonin spray can be used to relieve pain related to vertebral fracture for short period.
  • All patients with Osteoporosis are given calcium and vitamin D supplements.

What precautions should be taken by patients with Osteoporosis?

Patients should take adequate amount of food which has high calcium/ vitamin D content like dairy products. They should make changes in home to reduce chances of fall. They can use walking stick. They should do gentle exercises to maintain muscle tone.

How long treatment of Osteoporosis needs to be continued?

Osteoporosis drugs acts after few months and they are continued for few years. Necessary precautions are taken to monitor side effects of these drugs.

Food

    • There is no direct relationship of food with any arthritis except Gout.
    • Patients with gouty arthritis can take all vegiterian food including pulses. They should avoid non veg diet.
    • There is no relation of these diseases with sour food.
    • Sour food does not increase arthritis pain. The diseases does not improve after stopping sour food.
    • Arthritis patients should take healthy and easy to digest food according to their need.
    • Patients with involvement of joints of legs should avoid gaining weight.

Side Effects of Drugs

    • Side effects do not occur in most (90%) patients taking medicines used for arthritis.
    • Medicines are prescibed after considering patients age,weight, type/ seriousness of disease, associated other diseases etc.
    • It is taken care that minimum drugs in smallest doses are prescibed to the each patient.
    • Each and every complain occurring to the patients is not necessarily due to medicines.
    • Stop medicines if you suspect side effects.
    • Consult your family doctor immediately.
    • Later inform your rheumatologist or request your family doctor to speak to your rheumatologist.

Related Surgery

    • The patients whose joints are completely destroyed by arthrits and who face significant disability in carrying out daily activities despite adequate medicines need joint replacement surgery.
    • Commonly replaced joints include knees, hips, shoulders and elbows.
    • The patients who have arthritis related swelling in single large joint can undergo arthroscopic surgery.
    • Patients who have involvement of spine in arthritis may need surgery when their nerve root or spinal cord is compressed.
    • In properly selacted patients with deformed fingers and toes a specially trained surgeon can do corrective surgery.

Disclaimer : This patient fact sheet is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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