Post menopausal osteoporosis

Description of Post menopausal osteoporosis


Menopause is the natural cessation of menstruation in women, generally seen between the ages 45 and 50, wherein their risk of developing osteoporosis increases tremendously. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones becomes brittle and tend to fracture and break easily. Approximately 10% of bone mass is lost in the first 5 years after menopause.
Osteoporosis and menopause often go hand in hand; while menopause is inevitable, osteoporosis can be prevented.
Causes and Risk Factors
Estrogen is a female hormone which protects bone strength. The exact cause for menopausal osteoporosis is not known, but is thought to be due to fall of estrogen hormone that occurs during menopause. The lesser production of this hormone leads to a detrimental effect on the bones.
The bones are made of living growing tissue so up to 30 years of age, the body normally builds more tissue than it loses. However, as a woman ages, the bone break down begins causing a reduction in bone mass density. The falling levels of estrogen have a direct relationship with the bones becoming porous.
High-risk population includes:
1. Women who experience early menopause (before the age of 45).
2. Women who have had a long time span without a menstrual period (irregular periods indicate that you might not be ovulating properly and then the estrogen levels may not be normal).
Signs and Symptoms
Initially, there are no evident symptoms other than bone loss which cannot be seen. Gradually, as bone mass decreases the bone strength reduces and the person may feel pain, a strain, bump or a fracture of a bone after a minor fall. Typically, a fracture is the first sign and other signs include:
1. Spinal deformity
2. Loss of about an inch of the height
3. Chronic severe pain
4. Limited function with restricted mobility
Collapsed vertebrae may be seen on x-ray and the patient may have complaints of chronic back pain.
The best diagnostic test for osteoporosis is a specialized x-ray technique called DXA scan which measures the bone density. A bone mass density test score of less than 25 units demands treatment to reduce the risk of fractures.
Other tests like calcium and vitamin D levels in the blood are also advised for detecting their deficiency in the body.
Prompt diagnosis of bone loss and assessment is necessary as therapies are available to increase and maintain bone mass.
There are a number of non-medical therapies which can prevent further bone mass loss and increase bone density such as:
1. Diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
2. Protein supplements
3. Reduced alcohol, caffeine, and salt intake.
4. Exercise helps to improve bone mass in menopausal women. A recommended 30 minutes of exercise is required every day. A regular weight-bearing exercise regimen is recommended.
5. Quitting smoking (smoking promotes bone mass loss).
Supplements may include oral calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Medications or hormonal therapy include:
1. Bisphosphonates: These drugs slow down the breakdown and removal of bone. They are most commonly used for treatment of osteoporosis in menopausal women.
2. Estrogen-like drugs: They help to produce estrogen like effects and restrict bone loss.
3. Estrogen-progesterone therapy 
Complications and When Should You See a Doctor
The complications of this condition are as follows:
1. Limited mobility and movement which can be disabling and limit your physical activity. This causes weight gain and further increases stress on the bones.
2. Depression
3. Fractures and pain
Consult a doctor when:
1. Anyone who breaks a bone from a trip and fall or even lesser impact
2. Loss of height 2 to 16 cm
3. Sudden severe episodes of upper, middle, or low back pain
4. A hump developing on their upper back
5. Change in body shape or size
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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