Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone density and deterioration of bone tissue, which leads to increased risk of fractures, particularly in the spine, wrist, and hip. It is most common in postmenopausal women, but it can also affect men and women of other ages. Risks for developing osteoporosis include being female, having a family history of the disease, being over the age of 50, having a small, thin frame, and being of white or Asian ethnicity. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

The signs and symptoms of osteoporosis are often not noticeable until a fracture occurs. However, a loss of height and a stooped posture may be signs of the disease.

Compression fractures of the spine, also known as vertebral fractures, are a common complication of osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone density and deterioration of bone tissue. These fractures occur when the bones of the spine (vertebrae) become weak and compress or collapse, often as a result of trauma such as a fall or minor injury. However, in people with osteoporosis, even everyday activities such as coughing or bending over can cause a compression fracture.

Symptoms of a compression fracture may include pain in the back or neck, difficulty standing or walking, and a loss of height. The pain may be sudden and severe or may come on gradually. In some cases, a compression fracture may not cause any symptoms and may only be detected through imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans.

Treatment for osteoporosis and compression fractures may include medications to increase bone density, such as bisphosphonates, as well as lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, and getting adequate calcium and vitamin D. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to stabilize the spine or repair a fracture.

One surgical option for treating a compression fracture is kyphoplasty, a procedure in which a small balloon is inserted into the fractured vertebra and inflated to create space. The balloon is then removed and replaced with a cement-like material to stabilize the vertebra and reduce pain. Kyphoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia and typically takes about one hour to complete.

Schedule an appointment with Dr Desai to discuss treatment options.

Sources:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): Osteoporosis

Mayo Clinic: Osteoporosis

Mayo Clinic: Compression Fracture

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Kyphoplasty

Dr. Raj Desai