What is osteoporosis: what are its symptoms, degrees and who is affected

Increased life expectancy and osteoporosis are closely linked, as this bone disease is believed to affect the 22.5% women nearly 7% of men over 50. Therefore, if you take into account that people are living longer and longer, the chances of suffering from it increase significantly.

What is osteoporosis?

It’s a chronic disease It affects the skeleton and is characterized by a decrease in bone density. That is, the bone mass becomes more porous and less consistent. This leads to greater fragility and, therefore, more possibilities of fractures.

The main problem with osteoporosis is that it is discovered when a bone breaks and this usually happens when the disease is at an advanced stage. To this we must add that sometimes they are really complicated fractures, since they occur in the hip or in the vertebrae, which translates into a real ordeal for those who suffer from them.

Osteoporosis and life expectancy

The lifetime it has been steadily increasing in recent decades, with the only brake in 2020 (Spain went from 83.5 to 82.4, according to INE due to the coronavirus pandemic). And in the case of women, the figure is higher than that of men (we are already over 86 in our country). This means that there are more and more patients with osteoporosis, more fractures to treat and more and more people with a lower quality of life due to the pain and fear that their bones are breaking.

Another associated consequence is that it has become “one of the main health burdens in Europe, causing more than four million fragility fractures each year and more than 200,000 causal-related deaths and healthcare costs that exceed 56 000 million,” according to the Osteoporosis report. in Europe: a compendium of country reports.

Why are women more prone?

The answer to why there are more women who suffer from this chronic disease whose cause is that their peak bone mass is, as a rule, lower than that of men. Fortunately, chronic diseases such as lupus, the cause of which was discovered in a girl’s genomeare increasingly studied to offer those who suffer from it a better quality of life.

In addition, menopause accelerates bone deterioration. But these are not the only factors. Caucasian or Asian people have more chances of developing the disease, as well as those with smaller bodies, because they don’t need as much bone mass. In addition, family history must be taken into account, because if a loved one has suffered from it, the risk increases.

On another side, habits also influence (in osteoporosis and life expectancy). The abuse of alcohol, tobacco or certain drugs can accelerate the deterioration of the skeleton. Therefore, quitting smoking or drinking is an important preventive measure. The other is a balanced diet rich in calcium (at least 1,200 milligrams for women over 50 and for men over 70) and vitamin D. This can be achieved by including foods such as low-fat dairy, cheese, legumes (lentils and soy). ), fish rich in Omega 3, shellfish and vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, etc.), among others. Finally, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle will help the bones to grow stronger.

Degrees of osteoporosis

If after a certain age you begin to feel excessive fatigue, another recommendation is to do one of the tests whose mission is to measure the degrees of osteoporosis. It is similar to an x-ray and its purpose is to measure bone mass density.

Once the results are obtained, they are compared to the standard of an adult, young in good health. And from there you get a score which determines said density

  • Normal level: standard deviation (SD) of +1 or -1
  • Low bone density: SD -1 to -2.5
  • Osteoporosis: ED of -2.5 or more
  • Severe osteoporosis: SD greater than -2.5 and with a history of one or more fractures

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