Acıbadem Comprehensive Spine Center
SPINAL DISORDERS OSTEOPOROSIS (BRITTLE BONES)

Spinal Fractures

Osteoporosis (Brittle Bones)

Osteoporosis, also known as brittle bones; is a disease which increases the possibility of bone fracture due to decreased calcium in the bone structure.

According to the data of Turkish Association of Osteoporosis, it is seen in one out of every 3 women above age 50 (more common than breast cancer), and one out of every 5 males (more common than prostate cancer) above age 50. It is reported that this illness causes 1.5 million fractures every year in United States of America.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

The most common sign of osteoporosis is pain in the spine and back. The cause of these pains is explained by the presence of microfractures in the weakened bone. There are numerous fractures in the bones at the microscopic level. These fractures are rapidly repaired by new bone tissues formed by the body. However, this metabolic event is slowed down in osteoporosis. As a result, microfractures enlarge to form macrofractures.

The symptoms of osteoporosis include lower back and back pain, shortening in height, gibbosity, and especially sensitized fractures curves.

How is the diagnostic process in osteoporosis?

The diagnosis of osteoporosis is made according to the data obtained from Dual Energy X Ray Absorbtiometry (DEXA) and fractures. Using the bone mineral density measurements by DEXA one can obtain assistance for diagnosis, obtain information on possible new fractures, and monitor the natural course of the disease.

What are the methods for preventing osteoporosis?

If an osteoporotic bone is weill supported by muscles, in other words the patient is aged yet moving reguarly, and the hip, back, and lower back muscles are strong, then the occurrence of a fracture may be less.

In order for the bone to resist against fractures, a healthy muscle tissue and nervous system are necessary for protecting and mobilizing that bone. Bone stocks need to be filled with calcium for these purposes. Therefore, vitamin D is also very important. The greatest source of vitamin D is the sun. Consumption of food such as white cheese, milk, and yoghurt is important. Doing sports is necessary to store the ingested calcium.

Who is under risk?

Women with low estrogen and men with low testosterone levels, people who have first degree relatives diagnosed with osteoporosis, and patients using corticosteroids may be under risk.

What are the methods used for the treatment of osteoporosis?

In patients diagnosed with osteoporosis, a protective treatment is initiated unless there is a fracture. The basic principles of protective treatment are making the patient active and persuade to do exercises. Fast paced walks enable the bone to preserve its current strength. As the patient’s muscles develop by activity and movement, forces exerted on the bone will be decreased, thereby decreasing the risk of fracture.

Protective drugs can decrease and balance the breakdown seen during osteoporosis. Therefore these types of drugs used in the management are used according to the patient’s age group. However drug therapy alone is not enough. Regular exercises must be added to the treatment program. In advanced osteoporosis when patients begin to develop fractures, additional measures are taken to decrease the pain casued by these fractures. These are regular exercise programs, brace treatment, filling the bone with bone cement or some organic substances. Finally by considering your personal risk factors, in addition to treating osteoporosis with medical and nonmedical treatments, do not forget to take precautions for the prevention of osteoporosis.

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