Osteoporosis Essay

This essay has a total of 797 words and 4 pages.


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

There are numerous treatments for osteoporosis. While there are ways to prevent it and to
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