As we get older, the bones become weaker and it is likely that the slightest fall or bump can cause them to break. It is not a thing that appears right away but tends to be picked up after an accident has already happened. Although anyone can get osteoporosis, it does tend to be women who suffer the most and usually the weakening can begin after they have gone through the menopause phase. Pain doctors NJ will be able to advise on what women should be looking out for. All bones get weaker, but the main areas where breaks are likely to occur are:
- Vertebrae – Bones in the spine.
- Ribs – These are very susceptible, and it can be something as natural as a sneeze that leads to the break.
Living with the disease does not cause pain, but the pain and inconvenience starts when a break or fracture occurs. There is a further problem, however, when there is a fracture on a spinal bone as there will often be ongoing pain from this. While there are no painful indications, many people may become suspicious that they are becoming affected as their posture will change. They will not be able to stand up straight, but will bend forward. Normally, this is due to minor fractures in the spine occurring. And while not needing osteoporosis treatment right away, fractured spinal bones are now not able to hold the body up.
Who can be affected?
Studies show that there are around 44 million people with this painful condition with many each year needing osteoporosis treatment. Anyone can be affected and if you believe that you are, it will be a good idea to look for pain doctors NJ.
The loss of bone density is a well known sign of aging, but for some people the process happens much more quickly and much more deeply than others. Post-menopausal women are worst affected especially if they go through the menopause before 45. There are many causes including:
- Medication – High dose corticosteroids and items that affect hormone levels
- Conditions – Anything that leads to inflammation or is hormone related
- Hereditary – If family members have it, it can be passed down
- Lifestyle – If you drink and smoke you increase the risk.
- Weight –Low BMI
After an examination by your doctor, they may suspect that you are developing osteoporosis and will want to carry out further tests. They have tools that they can use to determine the likelihood of the person suffering fractures after they are 40 years of age. A Dexa scan may be requested and this 5 minute test can tell the bone density. The figure given is compared to the bone density of other people and you will receive a T score. When you are given your T score, it should be explained that:
- Normal is anything above -1 SD
- Decreased density is -1 to – 2.5 SD
- Osteoporosis is under – 2.5 SD
If you show that there is bone density loss, but not to the degree that osteoporosis will be determined that it will osteopenia. There will be some treatment needed, but not to the same level it would be needed if you had osteoporosis.
The main form of osteoporosis treatment you will receive is going to be around trying to prevent fractures and then treating them if you cannot do that. This will be combined with medication that will help to improve the condition of your bones. The results of the Dexa scan will decide it you need osteoporosis treatment yet or not.
There are certain things that you can do to give yourself a better chance of not developing osteoporosis. Your pain doctors NJ will suggest:
- Exercise –This should be regular and not too strenuous.
- Eating – Make meals healthy and select products with vitamin D and calcium
- Supplements –Even with vitamin D in the diet you can take an additional supplement.
- Lifestyle –If you smoke and drink a lot, at least cut down if you cannot give up altogether.
Day to day life with osteoporosis
While it is not good news to have this diagnosis, there are things that you can do to mitigate the effects and pain doctors NJ will be fully aware of the best treatments and what they are going to be able to do to help their patients. The most obvious one will be to make sure that the house is safe, and you are not at risk of falling. Visits to the opticians and having your ears tested will be beneficial. If you are unfortunate, you can use a number of treatments to improve them. An ice pack or heat pack will give relief from some injuries. If you want relief more regularly, then investing in a TENS machine will be good value. You could also study relaxation techniques and you should be able to find out a lot of different exercises you can try without causing additional damage. If you are concerned that you may need additional help, then you should speak to your pain doctors NJ.
Those at risk
While it has been established that post-menopausal women are at risk, there are other people who are going to succumb. Women of any age who have had their ovaries taken out could find their bones are no longer as strong as can anyone taking steroids for more than a few months. The obvious effects of bulimia are known, but one that is not always publicised is that osteoporosis can start. Lack of exercise will leave you vulnerable, as well as smoking and drinking. As the bones are fine when you are younger, it may not be something that you worry about, but as you age, they will start to get weak. While everyone suffers in the same way, there are some who find the process starts earlier than it does for others.
People are at risk
As mentioned, the reason women suffer more is because of their changes during the menopause. As oestrogen levels drop, the bones become thinner. Early menopause, hysterectomy and period absences will add to the dilemma and mean that they could need to start osteoporosis treatment almost as soon as their menopause has finished.
There is less known as to why men also develop osteoporosis, although testosterone levels are linked. As they develop this hormone throughout their lives, there is no risk of the levels falling. If it does fall, it is usually for reasons such as the use of certain medications or overuse of alcohol. There is also the possibility that they will suffer from hypogonadism, which is when the body does not produce a great deal of the required hormone.
Certain conditions will make the risk of developing osteoporosis higher and these tend to be linked to hormone production as pain doctors NJ will be able to explain to their patients. The conditions that are most likely to blame are:
- An overactive thyroid gland which is known as hyperthyroidism
- Cushing’s syndromes or other conditions linked to the adrenal glands.
- Lower than normal levels of oestrogen or testosterone.
- Pituitary gland issues.
- Parathyroid gland that is too active – a condition known as hyperparathyroidism
- Bed rest for other conditions
In order to decide what osteoporosis treatment to recommend, the pain doctors NJ will take into account things such as your age, gender, risks of falling or injury and a history of any problems you have had in the past. If you have already suffered a fracture, you should still be told how to avoid more and not have it assumed that you know what needs to be done. It is possible that you will be given medication to treat osteoporosis and while this may not seem to be ideal, it will help. To self-help, you can ensure that you eat and drink items that are full of calcium. Supplements will be an acceptable way to do this.
Medication from the pain doctors NJ
There is a range of medications that can be prescribed as part of your osteoporosis treatment, and the pain doctors NJ will want to make sure that you are taking the one that is best for you. They will take into account things such as your age, risks of injury and the T score relating to the bone mineral density tests.
Bisphosphonates will reduce the speed that the bone density deteriorates. With stronger bones there is less than the risk of a fracture. With a range of different ones, you could be prescribed risedronate, zoledronic acid, ibandronate or alendronate. You normally have the choice of them being given in the tablet form or via an injection. There are strict rules when taking these.
- Take on an empty stomach and wait between 30 and 120 minutes before eating or drinking again.
- For half an hour afterwards sit upright or remain standing.
Don’t expect to notice an improvement right away as this form of osteoporosis treatment can take up to a year to make a difference. You will need to take medication for a period of up to 5 years and need supplements as well. There is also the risk that you will be affected by side effects which can include a painful throat, stomach irritations and difficulty swallowing. The more serious risk will be osteonecrosis where the jaw crumbles, although this tends to be more with high dosage for other issues. A dental check-up before hand will be beneficial.
SERMS can be provided and they will deal with bone density and keeping it as high as possible. Raloxifene will be prescribed and a tablet needs to be taken once a day. With this osteoporosis treatment there are side effects including leg cramps, hot flushes and in more severe cases, blood clots. Parathyroid hormones such as teriparatide will work to help the hormone that is found naturally in the body. They stimulate the production of new bone and are received via an injection. Unlike other osteoporosis treatment, they do not slow down the rate that the bone thins but are only suitable for people who have tried other forms of treatment and found them not to work.
Side effects include nausea and vomiting so should only be used as a form of osteoporosis treatment when prescribed by pain doctors NJ. Supplements such as calcium and vitamin D are important as it is calcium that builds bones. Most of the 700mg needed a day should come from food and drink such as milk and other diary products although if more is needed it could be best to get a supplement to provide it. With the help of vitamin D, calcium is taken in by the body and as the weather is poor between the months of October and March, it is advisable to take a supplement. There are not many foods that are rich in it, so an additional 10mg a day should be taken.
Hormone replacement therapy – HRT – can be given before the problems of osteoporosis start and will help women through the menopause. It can keep the bones thick and reduce the risk of fractures and breaks. The issue is that HRT is meant for other conditions and while effective, cannot be taken for too long. There are severe risks of taking it for too long and they include the development of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer, venous thromboembolism and strokes. The risks it prevents are higher than the good it does, so it is unlikely that your pain doctor NJ will provide it for long. Men can be given testosterone as a form of osteoporosis treatment when the cause of their osteoporosis is considered to be a lack of sex hormones that are too blame. They will need to undergo the sae sort of tests as women and also be honest with their doctors if the problem gets worse or there are side effects.