Osteoporosis is a metabolic disorder marked by porousness and fragility of the bones. When this is associated with old age, it is known as senile osteoporosis. The exact cause of the disorder is unclear. However, calcium deficiency and inadequate calcium intake are supposed to be the primary cause, in addition to the lack of the hormones (androgen & estrogen). Because of lack of estrogen, osteoporosis commonly occurs in women. (Ref. The new International Standard Medical & Health Encyclopedia, 2006 Edition).
Osteoporosis is a condition of weakened bones that become brittle, and a mild stress or a jerk may cause serious fractures. The cause of osteoporosis is the imbalance between bone formation and bone breakdown. As age advances bone breakdown is much faster than bone formation. Medications are available for keeping this imbalance in control. This reduces bone breakdown.
Control of Osteoporosis
Medications available to restore the balance of bone formation and breakdown, thereby remodeling the process to prevent further damage.
Two types of drugs are available:
1. Antiresorptive Drugs: They slowdown the rate of bone loss, i.e. Biphosphonates, Ralixifene, Denosumab, Calcitonin, and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM).
2. Anabolic Drugs: They increase the rate of bone formation, i.e. Teriparatide, and Romosozumab.
Detailed consideration of the above mentioned drugs is beyond the scope of this write up).
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D are the two very important dietary requirements. If dietary calcium is not provided to the body, the calcium stored in the bones is withdrawn leading to weakening of the bones. Since the body cannot synthesize calcium, it is necessary to provide calcium through dietary supplements. In addition, vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract.
Hence, vitamin D is administered as a supplement together with calcium. The dosage(s) of calcium and vitamin D have to be decided according to the age and sex of the person.
Thus, proper medication, diet, and lifestyle modification are the main factors for managing osteoporosis.