Osteoporosis, bone atrophy, is an illness where bone density and structure are degraded. The osteoporosis is not a rare illness. At the moment 200 million men and women worldwide suffer from osteoporosis. Scientific surveys show, that in Germany alone, a total of 7.8 million men and women over 50 are affected, whereby women account for ca. 83% of the sufferers. Among others, women are especially affected by the illness after the menopause.
Approximately 30 percent of all women and 20 percent of all men are taken ill by osteoporosis in the course of their lives.
Rigid bones a prerequisite for a healthy course of motion. The body is supported by the bones, respectively the skeleton, and, as a result of the interaction with the muscles we can move. In the case of decreasing muscle strength this can be built up again by training the muscles.
Bones cannot be strengthened in this manner. Bones are in a continuous process of degradation and new formation. In this process a balance between degradation and new formation should prevail. If the bone degradation is predominant, the bone mass decreases and the bones become more and more porous and less resilient. Here one speaks of the osteoporosis - also called bone atrophy. The illness is a slow process accompanied by an increasing risk of broken bones, fractures. Osteoporosis is often only detected after a fracture, because the decrease of bone substance doesn’t cause any pain and there are no visible symptoms that indicate the illness. Indications on the formation of the osteoporosis can be found by the osteodensitometrie and an early therapy can be started to prevent the illness.
Factors that play a role in the development of osteoporosis:
In addition illness and the way of life can trigger the bone degradation or accelerate it:
- Lack of exercise
- Nutritional deficiency
- Oestrogen deficiency (e.g. during the menopause)
- Alcohol consumption, caffeine (coffee), smoking
- - Certain medications (e.g. cortisone)
There are many medical means of treatment that should be additionally assisted by nutrition, exercise and sport to thus combat the osteoporosis.
Dysfunctional bone regeneration cycle in the event of osteoporosis
If the original, balanced bone regeneration cycle is dysfunctional, more bone is degraded than regenerated. The bone degradation cells (osteoclasts) degrade the bone quicker than the bone regeneration cells (osteoblasts) can regenerate it.
Symptoms of osteoporosis:
Typical for osteoporosis are fractures of the ankle bone, the femoral neck and the forearm close to the wrist.
Osteoporotic fractures can occur in situations in which healthy bones would not break: e.g. as a result of a minor fall or due to trying to get additional support on banisters. Also simple, day to day movements, such as lifting and carrying, can even cause a fracture. Furthermore the risk of further fractures increases significantly after the first fracture.
In the case of patients with osteoporosis deformation of the spine can occur, the so-called kyphosis (hunchback). The deformation of the spine can, under certain circumstances, restrict the respiratory function and cause problematic shifts of the inner organs.
Bone regeneration cycle in healthy bones
In the bone regeneration cycle a balance between degradation and regeneration of the bone tissue prevails.