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What is Osteoporosis?
In simple language, Osteoporosis is the reduction in the mass of bone below the normal levels required for the bones to perform their functions of mechanical support. This is due to increased resorption of bone and less bone formation.
Does it affect Men and Women differently?
Yes, women tend to lose 60% of their Trabecular bone and 35% of Cortical bone as compared to men who lose only 2/3 of this. 
What are the types of Osterporosis?
It maybe primary, which is post-menopausal or age-related and secondary due to other medical problems or immobility.
Are there any external factors that decrease the bone density?
Yes, the following factors decrease the bone density: Smoking, Ageing, Caffeine intake, Alchohol, certain steroids & drugs and excessive acid intake in the form of a high-protein diet.
What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?
It usually does not produce any symptoms, but in some cases may present as an acute pain in the back. In the much older people, it can lead to loss of height or fracture of the hip.
What is the role of exercise in preventing bone loss?
Studies show that women who have been more physically active in their youth are less likely to develop osteoporosis. Exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to build bone and prevent bone loss. Men and women in the 50-70 age group, who exercise regularly have 30% denser bones than individuals of the same group who do not exercise. Even in post-menopausal women, regular weight-bearing exercise (1 Hr, 3 times a week) such as walking, jogging or dancing helps increase bone content and slows the amount of bone loss.
What is the value of nutrition to prevent osteoporosis?
Sufficient amount of calcium, ideally in the form of Calcium citrate, along with magnesium and Vit D, slows the bone loss.
What is the role of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the prevention of Osteoporosis in Women?
Hormone Replacement Therapy is the most effective and proven method of prevention of Osteoporosis in women. This is because bones depend on estrogen to regulate and maintain bone density. Bone loss is fastest during the 5 yrs after menopause and then continues slowly upto 20 yrs after menopause, after which both men and women lose bone at the same rate. Many studies have shown that HRT not only prevents bone loss but can actually increase bone mass after 3 yrs of continued use. Of course, the overall plan should be to combine HRT with calcium intake and safe weight-bearing exercise.  Also, it reduces the risk of heart disease, urinary tract infections, cancer of the ovaries and perhaps stroke. But, there are several medical conditions such as breast cancer where it is important to decrease the hormone level and so this kind of therapy is not advised. Infact, women undergoing HRT should do regular self-examination of the breast and regular mamography to rule out any tumours. At present only a very small minority of women in India take this medicine for any extended period of time because of the fear of potential risk of cancer, the hassles of mensutral bleeding, expense of the medicine and even lack of information regarding its benefits.
What are the other (Non-hormonal) methods of treatment?
There are other treatments available with drugs such as Alendronate, Calcitonin and Calcitriol. All treatments should be undertaken only at the advice of  a family doctor or specialist after thorough examination and investigation.




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