Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by a gradual weakening of bones. The condition causes bones to become more porous, decreasing their density.
Osteoporosis develops slowly due to low mineral density. The disease is more common in women and more prevalent in people over 50 years of age. You may not know that you have osteoporosis until you suffer a broken bone.
An early diagnosiss and medical intervention can slow or prevent the progression of the disease. For this, you need to recognise the risk factors associated with osteoporosis. The lifestyle choices can up your risk of this disease; a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition and smoking may contribute to the risk of developing it.
Research supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) suggests that dental x-rays may be used as a screening tool for osteoporosis. Researchers found that dental x-rays were highly effective in distinguishing people with osteoporosis from those with normal bone density.
Ultrasound and computed topography (CT) scanning can also be used to detect loss of bone mineral density. These tests may be used in combination with blood testing to rule out any possibility of any other medical condition such as cancer that may have spread to your bones.
Undergo a bone mineral density exam if you are a female over the age of 60 years or if your GP recommends one. The exam will measure the amount of minerals such as calcium in your bones with a computerized X-ray machine.
Discuss your medical history with your health care provider so that he/she gets an idea if you are at a risk of developing osteoporosis. There are certain medical procedures such as chemotherapy that up the risk of this disease. Moreover, medical conditions such as stroke, increase your risk. Hormonal imbalances may also contribute to a woman’s risk factors.
Many people see their dentist more regularly then their physician; dental checkups can help identify people with low bone density. Whenever you make a visit to your dentist, talk about your bone health. Dental concerns that may indicate low bone density include loose teeth, gums detachment from the teeth or receding gums, and ill-fitting or loose dentures.
You must seek medical advice if you’ve suffered a fracture and are post-menopausal. Bones can break at any age, but osteoporosis makes a break more likely with only slight trauma. You may be experiencing a weakening and bending of the spine if you notice one pant leg seems longer than the other or one side of your skirt hem hanging down. Report the same to your GP immediately.
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