Osteoporosis is the disease marked by weak, brittle bones mostly found in women.

The medical significance of this disease is that the bones lose both calcium for
strength and matrix for support. Osteoporosis is the scientific name of the
disease, but another term for it is osteopenia. The common name for it is
osteoporosis. One half of all women over the age of 45 years, and 90 percent of
women over 75 years in the United States are affected with osteoporosis. There
are many causes for this disease. One cause is our genetic heritage. If your mom
had it, and her mom had it, there is a very good chance that you will get
osteoporosis. Another cause could be an inadequate intake of vitamins and
calcium. Dietary surveys have shown that most adults do not take in the
recommended amount of calcium in their diets. Studies have shown that young men
who develop osteoporosis are often heavy alcohol drinkers. Studies have also
shown that a high intake of aluminum-containing antacids can reduce the calcium
supply. Since osteoporosis is a shortage of calcium, the problem just might be
that you do not take in enough calcium. Another cause is hormone excess in the
body. A common cause of loss of calcium is too many hormones made from the
parathyroid or thyroid glands. The parathyroid gland secretes the parathyroid
hormone. This hormone affects calcium metabolism and is essential for the
maintenance of good bone structure. If too much is produced, the level of serum
calcium rises and calcium is extracted for the bones, causing them to become
weak. Quite often, older women with osteoporosis also have osteomalacia, which
is a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is needed to maintain the normal metabolism
of calcium in the body (Fernandez-Madrid 208-209). Another cause of this disease
is the fact that one is not physically active. Daily exercise is always
recommended to keep your entire body healthy. Osteoporosis also shows up in
post-menopausal women who lack estrogen production. Estrogen plays an important
role in the calcium metabolism in bone. Lastly, too much steroid medicine can
also cause a loss of calcium for the bone. Corticosteroids are very dangerous,
especially in post-menopausal women. The reason for this is that they slow the
dietary calcium absorption in the intestine and speed its removal from blood by
the kidney. They stimulate the bone cells that promote bone breakdown, and
inhibit the bone cells that promote bone growth (Davidson 150-151). There are
many symptoms of osteoporosis. First, osteoporosis weakens the bones. The
weakening of the bones allows fractures to occur more easily. It is a major
cause of serious disability in older people, with one in three women and one in
five men living to age 85 fracturing a hip due to osteoporosis. Another symptom
is the reduced height in an individual or a humping of the back. Lower back pain
is also a common symptom of osteoporosis. There are numerous treatments for
osteoporosis. While there are ways to prevent it and to treat it, there is no
cure as of yet. The main treatment is prevention, exercise, healthy living, and
estrogen treatment for women are the keys to success. A big part of treatment
and prevention is exercise. Muscle mass and bone formation increase with
exercise, even in older people. It especially helps to exercise against gravity,
such as walking a mile or more daily or at least several times weekly. An
organized workout program with an exercise trainer will help you achieve the
most benefit to your body within your limitations. Water exercises are also a
good way to exercise. A healthy diet is also important. Getting the proper
amounts of calcium and vitamin D is essential in the treatment of this disease.

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Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun, so walking outdoors takes care of that.

Calcium may be obtained from foods or from vitamins. It is recommended that 1.0
to 1.5 grams of calcium should be taken in each day. As far as estrogen
treatment goes, women who have estrogen treatment increase the calcium in their
bones by seven percent versus those who do not use the treatment. The percentage
of those with fractures is even lower. So far, the best know way to treat
osteoporosis, is through salmon calcitonin. It is an injectable substance. It is
believed that calcitonin is what regulates osteoclasts from breaking down too
much bone. Right here is where I should talk about the history of the disease. I
should say who discovered it and when they discovered it, but I am not able to
do that. Through all of my research, I could not find any of that information