ID: 139
Category: Old age
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 06 Feb 2023
updatedon: 05 Apr 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Feb 06, 2023
Updated Apr 05, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

Osteoporosis (ah-stee-oh-puh-ROH-sis)
osteo - Greek for "bone"
porosis - Greek for "porous"

History of Osteoporosis

The history of osteoporosis can be traced back to the 19th century when it was first recognized as a distinct medical condition. In 1833, a French pathologist named Jean Lobstein described a condition that he called "porous bones" which he observed in several patients. He noted that the bones appeared to be more fragile and prone to fractures than normal bones.

Over the next several decades, other physicians and researchers began to study the condition in more detail. In the early 20th century, researchers discovered that osteoporosis was associated with calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, and efforts were made to increase intake of these nutrients to prevent and treat the condition.

In the mid-20th century, the development of new imaging technologies such as X-rays and bone densitometry allowed for more accurate diagnosis of osteoporosis. In the 1990s, the World Health Organization developed criteria for the diagnosis of osteoporosis based on bone mineral density measurements.

Today, osteoporosis is a major public health concern, especially in developed countries with aging populations. Treatment options for osteoporosis include medications such as bisphosphonates and hormone therapy, as well as lifestyle changes such as exercise and increased intake of calcium and vitamin D.

Modern Understanding of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by a reduction in bone density which increases the risk of fractures. 

This disease, which affects millions of people worldwide, especially postmenopausal women and the elderly. It is caused by a number of factors, including hormonal changes, genetics, lifestyle habits, and nutritional deficiencies.

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being broken down and built back up. In healthy individuals, bone resorption and bone formation are balanced, meaning that bone density remains constant. However, in individuals with osteoporosis, bone resorption outpaces bone formation, leading to a decrease in bone density.

The most common symptoms of osteoporosis include spinal pain, back pain, and fractures, especially in the hip, wrist, and spine. In some cases, individuals with osteoporosis may also experience a loss of height and a noticeable curvature of the spine. In many cases, osteoporosis can go undetected for years or even decades, until a fracture occurs.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when bones become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures. The condition is caused by a variety of factors that affect bone strength, including:

- Age: As people age, bones naturally lose density and strength, making them more susceptible to fractures.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormone levels, such as a decrease in estrogen in women after menopause, can lead to bone loss.
- Genetics: A family history of osteoporosis can increase the risk of developing the condition.
- Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, such as a diet that is low in calcium and vitamin D, lack of physical activity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Medical conditions and medications: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and celiac disease, can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Additionally, long-term use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can lead to bone loss and increase the risk of fractures.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of adequate nutrition, particularly calcium and vitamin D, can contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

Treatments for Osteoporosis

The treatment of osteoporosis is aimed at reducing the risk of fractures and maintaining bone health. Treatments may include:

- Eating a healthy diet: A well-balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining bone health. Good dietary sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods such as cereal and orange juice.
- Getting regular exercise: Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, and strength training, can help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. Exercise can also improve balance and coordination, which can help to prevent falls.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Quitting smoking can help to improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of fractures. Limiting alcohol consumption to moderate levels (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men) can help to reduce the risk of fractures.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight: Being underweight can increase the risk of fractures, while being overweight can increase the risk of other health problems. Maintaining a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of fractures.
- Medications: There are several medications available for the treatment of osteoporosis, including bisphosphonates, hormone therapy, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). These medications work by slowing bone loss or increasing bone density.
- Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements: Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is essential for maintaining bone health. If dietary sources are not sufficient, supplements may be recommended.
- Fall Prevention: Preventing falls is crucial in reducing the risk of fractures in people with osteoporosis. Strategies may include modifying the home environment, using assistive devices, and participating in balance training programs.
- Surgery: In cases where a fracture has already occurred, surgery may be necessary to repair the fracture and stabilize the bone.


Muscle Weakness
Back pain
Pain in lower back, legs, or arms
Weight loss

Confirmation Tests

- X-rays
- CT scan

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