literally means "porous bones". It is a condition in which
bones become so weak and brittle that they break easily. Osteoporosis
leads to bone fractures, particularly in the hip, wrist and
spine, under conditions which would not normally cause broken
bones. Individuals with osteoporosis may also show a stooping
posture and loss in height.
Approximately half of all Caucasian women
over age 50 will suffer a bone fracture due to osteoporosis,
while about one-third of men over age 75 have some degree
Osteoporosis is associated with a reduction
in body levels of calcium
and other minerals, which the body uses to build and strengthen
bones. Thus, osteoporosis can be slowed or halted by increasing
intake of calcium and vitamin
D, a substance which helps the body absorb calcium and
deposit it in the bones.
Some degree of osteoporosis occurs normally
with aging, but it proceeds faster in women, especially following
post-menopausal women, estrogen
supplements can decrease the rate of bone loss, but cannot
increase bone mass. Individuals who lead sedentary lifestyles
are also at heightened risk for osteoporosis. Other risk factors
include being White or Asian, having a thin or small-framed
body, smoking, and excessive intake of alcohol or caffeine.
Osteoporosis can also be caused by some drugs and medications
(such as steroids), by various diseases (such as hyperthyroidism),
or by prolonged periods of inactivity (such as an extended
period of bedrest).
Several drugs are in development which may
be able to rebuild bone mass in individuals with osteoporosis.
However, currently available drugs work only to slow the rate
of bone loss. Thus, it is important to detect osteoporosis
as early as possible. A simple, painless bone density test
is often recommended for post-menopausal women who are not
taking hormone replacement therapy, particularly if they have
other risk factors for osteoporosis.
Article : "ESTROGEN
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain