Osteoporosis is a bone disorder caused due to decreased bone production which in turn increases the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis occurs when the production of a new bone cells is not sufficient to replace the old bone cells.
Factors such as reduced hormone production such as estrogen and progesterone in females, testosterone in males, low body weight, ageing or other underlying abnormalities increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is widely prevalent among the geriatric population, with a large number of cases reported among women. In the global scenario, Asian and Caucasian women are reported with a higher number of osteoporosis cases when compared to women of other races.
Signs and symptoms of osteoporosis
The signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include:
- Frequent bone fractures
- Stooped posture
- Loss of height
- Poor bone healing post-fracture or a bone surgery
- Chronic lower back pain
- Bone pain
- Joint pains
- Weight loss
The diagnosis of osteoporosis include:
Blood tests: Blood samples are collected to determine the effect of underlying factors that may affect the bone mineral density. Thyroid function test, kidney function test, Electrolytes, Vitamin D deficiency, Calcium, protein electrophoresis and Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis (Rh Factor ) are performed for detecting the cause of osteoporosis.
Test to determine bone resorption markers: The test assesses the levels of the biochemical markers which determine the rate of bone loss or bone resorption. The test is performed before and after osteoporosis treatment to evaluate the amount of bone loss. The bone markers for the rate of bone resorption include:
- Pyridinium crosslinks
- Urinary hydroxyproline
- Urinary collagen type-I cross-linked telopeptide
- Bone sialoprotein
Test to determine bone formation indicators: This test determines the rate of bone formation or bone production. The biomarkers that determine the rate of bone formation include:
- Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase
- Procollagen type-I N-terminal propeptide and C-terminal
Bone mineral density scan: The test is performed to assess the bone density and determine if you have osteoporosis. The test uses DEXA scan by calculating standard deviation values to the bone density. The spine, hip and other bones are usually scanned for diagnosing osteoporosis.
|Values (Mean standard deviation)||Interpretation|
|1 or above||Normal bone density|
|-1 to -2.5||A condition where new bone does not readily replace with the old bone tissues.|
|Lower than -2.5||Confirms osteoporosis|
Imaging scan: X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan and positron emission testing (PET) scan provides detailed images of the bones. This helps in monitoring the bone density and bone loss.
The treatment for osteoporosis includes the use of bisphosphonates, calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Other therapies such as the use of estrogen for hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women and testosterone in men help in maintaining optimum bone density. Analgesic pain relievers are used in combination with other medications to treat bone and body pains.
- Protein supplements: Regular Intake of protein or use of protein supplements help in building bone mass and reduces the risk of bone damage.
- Body weight: Being over or underweight increase the risk of bone fractures or bone loss. Thus, maintaining an optimum weight helps in reducing the risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
- Calcium supplements: Daily intake of calcium-rich foods such as milk, soy, green leafy vegetables, orange juice and calcium-fortified cereals increase the amount of calcium levels in the body.
- Vitamin D supplements: Vitamin D increases the rate of absorption of calcium in the body. It is available in abundance through sunlight. Thus, regular exposure to sunlight at dawn and dusk reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Exercise: Maintaining physical fitness with regular exercise helps in building strong bones and lowers the risk of bone loss.
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- Osteoporosis. https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/osteoporosis/start/1. Accessed on 25/10/2017
- Osteoporosis. https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/default.htm. Accessed on 25/10/2017
- Osteoporosis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968. Accessed on 25/10/2017
- Osteoporosis. https://www.medicinenet.com/osteoporosis/article.htm#what_are_osteoporosis_symptoms_and_signs. Accessed on 25/10/2017