Bone is living tissue containing cells that continue to replicate and grow. When someone develops osteoporosis, the disease slows the regenerative process. Individuals might also lose too many cells before adequate replacement occurs. Bones become weak and break easily. Though fractures may occur during a fall, the brittle condition of osteoporosis might also contribute to breakage from slight pressure. Some people suffer spontaneous fractures as a leg bone gives way beneath normal body weight.

Prevalence of Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 50 million adults in the United States have a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Research warns that 50 percent of all women and up to 25 percent of men over the age of 50 have an increased risk of bone fracture secondary to lowered bone mass and osteoporosis. Studies indicate that the ailment contributes to approximately 2 million broken bones annually, which costs an average of $19 billion in health care costs every year. By the year 2025, osteopaths believe that these numbers will increase to 3 million fractures and health care related costs of more than $25 billion every year.

Osteoporosis Prevention

Physicians at the Mayo Clinic advise that eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, along with exercising regularly, helps bones remain healthy throughout life. Adults over the age of 18 require at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Women over the age of 50 and men over 70 must get 1,200 milligrams of calcium. Dietary specialists recommend getting the necessary nutrients by consuming cereals and juices that are fortified with calcium, canned salmon or sardines, and low-fat diary products. Taking oral supplements is also another option. Strength training and weight-bearing exercises strengthen the large muscle groups and bones along with maintaining cardiovascular health.

Hip Fractures

Anyone 65 and older diagnosed with osteoporosis stands a high risk of suffering a hip fracture. These bone breaks most often occur in the upper portion of the femur where the large bone fits into the hip socket. Symptoms of a fractured hip include:

• Excruciating pain in the groin or hip region

• Inability to put weight on the affected leg

• Shortening of the affected leg

• Abnormal inward or outward rotation of the leg

In rare occurrences, victims may only experienced knee or thigh pain. Proper diagnosis requires undergoing an X-ray. Physicians may also recommend a bone scan, CT scan or an MRI, which all provide a more detailed image of the affected area.

Hip Surgery

Depending on the type and extent of the fracture, an osteopathic surgeon may perform a hip pinning or a total hip replacement surgery. Pinning involves using screws, braces or other metal devices to hold the bone together as it heals. Hip replacement requires replacing the upper, fractured portion of the femur with a synthetic, metallic device that functions similar to a normal hip joint. Following surgery, patients typically undergo physical therapy to regain strength and facilitate normal joint movement. Patients must fully comprehend the healing process and the possible side effects associated with implants before agreeing to the procedure.


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