What is Osteoporosis

November 29, 2013 | By | Reply

The word “Osteo” comes from the greek “Osteon” meaning “Bone”, while “Porosis” comes from Greek “Poros” meaning “Hole, Passage”. Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. This leads to increased bone fragility and risk of fracture (broken bones), particularly of the hip, spine, wrist and shoulder. Osteoporosis is often known as The Silent Thief because bone loss occurs without symptoms.


  • There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once bones have been   weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:
  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

The DEXA scan measures bone densities and compares them to a normal range. The patient is then given a ‘T’score. T scores are set out in the following way:

  • +1 to – 1  SD from the mean-  normal range bone density
  • -1 to -2.5 SD below  the mean  -osteopenia
  • -2.5 and more SD below the  mean  – the patient has osteoporosis.
  • -2.5 and more SD below mean in presence of fractures -severe osteoporosis.

Risk Factors

  • Women aged > 65 Caucasian or Asian race
  • Low body weight; (< 127 lbs or Family history of osteoporosis BMI < 20) Personal history of fragility fracture in first degree Long-term use of glucocorticoids Current tobacco smoking Alcohol in amounts > 2-3 drinks per day
  • Estrogen deficiency at an early age
  • Hysterectomy
  • Low calcium intake (lifelong)
  • And/or Increased likelihood of falling
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Dementia,
  • Pregnancy /Lactating women
  • Poor vision
  • Complain of spinal pain especially catching, multi joint pain

Who should have a test?

The National Osteoporosis Foundation says women should have a bone density test if they aren’t taking estrogen and:

  • Are aged 65 or over
  • Are postmenopausal and have one or more risk factors for osteoporosis
  • Have an abnormality in their spine
  • Are taking medications which may raise the risk of osteoporosis
  • Have Type 1 diabetes
  • Have a liver disease
  • Have a kidney disease
  • Have a thyroid disease
  • Have a family history of osteoporosis
  • Have experienced early menopause


1. Hormone replacement therapy

2. Adequate intake of Calcium

  • For premenopausal women 25-50 years old and postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy: 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium per day.
  • For pregnancy or  lactating women-1500 mg of calcium per day
  • For postmenopausal women >65 yrs and not on estrogen therapy -1500mg of calcium per day .
  • For men ages 25-65: 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
  • For all people (women and men) over age 65: 1,500 mg of calcium per day.

3. Adequate intake of Vitamin D-

  • Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D.
  • For people over 50 : 400-800 IU. of vitamin D per day.
  • For people 25-50 years: 400 IU. of vitamin D per day.

4. Regular Weight-Bearing and Muscle Strengthening Exercise:

  • Combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing exercises. Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine, and weight-bearing exercises — such as walking, dancing,low impact aerobics, stair climbing  mainly affect the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine.
  • Exercises to improve posture and balance should also be done.

5. Fall Prevention – Wear low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles and check your house for electrical cords, area rugs and slippery surfaces that might cause you to trip or fall. Keep rooms brightly lit, install grab bars just inside and outside your shower door, and make sure you can get in and out of your bed easily.

6. Avoidance of Tobacco Use and Excessive Alcohol Intake

7. Avoidance of caffeine

At PhysioRehab, we conduct special exercise programs for osteoporotic patients. It is important to consult a physiotherapist before you start exercise as any vigourous exercise can increase the risk of fractures. For further queries contact info@physiorehab.in

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