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 forstrength and matrix for support. Osteoporosis is the scientific name of thedisease, but another term for it is osteopenia. The common name for it isosteoporosis. One half of all women over the age of 45 years, and 90 percent ofwomen over 75 years in the United States are affected with osteoporosis.

Thereare many causes for this disease. One cause is our genetic heritage. If your momhad it, and her mom had it, there is a very good chance that you will getosteoporosis. Another cause could be an inadequate intake of vitamins andcalcium. Dietary surveys have shown that most adults do not take in therecommended amount of calcium in their diets. Studies have shown that young menwho develop osteoporosis are often heavy alcohol drinkers. Studies have alsoshown that a high intake of aluminum-containing antacids can reduce the calciumsupply.

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Since osteoporosis is a shortage of calcium, the problem just might bethat you do not take in enough calcium. Another cause is hormone excess in thebody. A common cause of loss of calcium is too many hormones made from theparathyroid or thyroid glands. The parathyroid gland secretes the parathyroidhormone. This hormone affects calcium metabolism and is essential for themaintenance of good bone structure. If too much is produced, the level of serumcalcium rises and calcium is extracted for the bones, causing them to becomeweak. Quite often, older women with osteoporosis also have osteomalacia, whichis a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is needed to maintain the normal metabolismof calcium in the body (Fernandez-Madrid 208-209).

Another cause of this diseaseis the fact that one is not physically active. Daily exercise is alwaysrecommended to keep your entire body healthy. Osteoporosis also shows up inpost-menopausal women who lack estrogen production. Estrogen plays an importantrole in the calcium metabolism in bone. Lastly, too much steroid medicine canalso 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 thedietary calcium absorption in the intestine and speed its removal from blood bythe kidney. They stimulate the bone cells that promote bone breakdown, andinhibit the bone cells that promote bone growth (Davidson 150-151).

There aremany symptoms of osteoporosis. First, osteoporosis weakens the bones. Theweakening of the bones allows fractures to occur more easily. It is a majorcause of serious disability in older people, with one in three women and one infive men living to age 85 fracturing a hip due to osteoporosis. Another symptomis the reduced height in an individual or a humping of the back.

Lower back painis also a common symptom of osteoporosis. There are numerous treatments forosteoporosis. While there are ways to prevent it and to treat it, there is nocure as of yet. The main treatment is prevention, exercise, healthy living, andestrogen treatment for women are the keys to success. A big part of treatmentand prevention is exercise.

Muscle mass and bone formation increase withexercise, 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. Anorganized workout program with an exercise trainer will help you achieve themost benefit to your body within your limitations. Water exercises are also agood way to exercise. A healthy diet is also important. Getting the properamounts of calcium and vitamin D is essential in the treatment of this disease.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 1.0to 1.

5 grams of calcium should be taken in each day. As far as estrogentreatment goes, women who have estrogen treatment increase the calcium in theirbones by seven percent versus those who do not use the treatment. The percentageof those with fractures is even lower. So far, the best know way to treatosteoporosis, is through salmon calcitonin. It is an injectable substance. It isbelieved that calcitonin is what regulates osteoclasts from breaking down toomuch bone. Right here is where I should talk about the history of the disease.

Ishould say who discovered it and when they discovered it, but I am not able todo that. Through all of my research, I could not find any of that informationanywhere.