Understanding Osteoporosis: A Comprehensive Guide

Osteoporosis, often referred to as the 'silent disease,' is a medical condition that weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. It is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density, resulting in the loss of bone tissue.


The word osteoporosis literally means "porous bone". When observed under a microscope, a healthy bone appears similar to a honeycomb, but a bone affected by osteoporosis shows much larger holes and spaces in the honeycomb-like structure. This loss of bone occurs silently and progressively.

As per the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, 1 in 3 women over 50 years old and 1 in 5 men will experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime.

Causes of Osteoporosis

The most common cause of a myocardial infarction is a blockage in the coronary arteries due to plaque buildup, known as atherosclerosis. However, a heart attack can also occur due to a spasm of the coronary artery, which shuts off blood flow to part of the heart muscle. This can occur in people without significant coronary artery disease.

Factors of Myocardial Infarction

Osteoporosis is primarily a result of an imbalance between bone resorption (breaking down of bone cells) and bone formation. This balance could be upset by various factors:

- Age: Aging is the most common cause. Our bones are continuously breaking down and reforming. As we age, the pace of bone breakdown speeds up, while the formation slows down.

- Gender: Women are at higher risk, mainly due to menopause, which brings a drop in estrogen levels, a hormone crucial for bone health.

- Diet: Insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D.

- Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.

- Genetics: Family history of osteoporosis.

- Medications and Medical Conditions: Certain medications and medical conditions can also increase the risk.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis often doesn't show any symptoms until a fracture occurs. However, as the condition advances, symptoms may include:

- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra.

- Loss of height over time.

- A stooped posture.

- Bone fractures that occur more easily than expected.

Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is typically diagnosed using a bone density scan, known as Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). It is a quick and painless procedure that can measure the density of bones in various parts of the body.

A score known as a T-score is calculated, which compares a patient's bone density with that of a healthy 30-year-old of the same sex. A score of -2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.

Precautions for Osteoporosis

While you cannot completely prevent osteoporosis, you can take steps to slow its progress:

- Maintain a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.

- Regular physical activity, especially weight-bearing and resistance exercises.

- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

- Have regular check-ups if you are at risk.

Treatments Available in India's Top Hospitals

Osteoporosis treatment focuses on slowing down or stopping the bone loss, preventing bone fractures, and controlling the pain associated with the disease.


Bisphosphonates are the most common medications prescribed for osteoporosis treatment. Other drug classes include Hormone-related therapy and monoclonal antibodies.


Calcium and vitamin D supplements may also be recommended.

Lifestyle Changes:

Regular exercise, healthy diet, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption are advised.

Top Hospitals in India

Several top-tier hospitals in India offer comprehensive osteoporosis treatment, including AIIMS (Delhi), Apollo Hospitals (Multiple Locations), Fortis Hospitals (Multiple Locations), and Christian Medical College (Vellore).

Frequently Asked Questions

While osteoporosis can't be completely cured, it can be managed effectively with medications, lifestyle changes, and careful management of contributing conditions.

Yes. Although osteoporosis is more common in women, men can also develop the disease.

Estrogen, a hormone that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. This is why the risk of osteoporosis increases for women at this time.

Osteoporosis is more common in older people, but it can affect individuals of any age.

A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, including dairy products, fish, fruits, and vegetables, can help maintain bone health.

While you can't change certain risk factors like age, gender, and genetics, you can prevent or delay osteoporosis by exercising, maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and having regular check-ups.

Osteoporosis itself doesn't cause pain, but the fractures resulting from it do.

While bone loss accelerates with age, osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging.

Severe osteoporosis can lead to fractures, disability, and complications that make it hard for a person to live independently.

Recommendations vary, but women 65 and older and men 70 and older should get a bone density test. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, your doctor might recommend earlier testing.

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