The Importance of Combating Low Bone Density

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Our skeletal system has several functions that enable us to carry on our daily activities. Our skeletal system helps us by providing support, protection, blood formation, endocrine regulation, detoxification, and mineral storage. As we start aging, our skeletal system deteriorates such as our bones, tendons, ligaments, or cartilage and so does their functions. One of the most known bone diseases is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a reduction of bone density in which it generates our bones to become brittle and fragile. According to the American College of Cardiology, “About 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 women older than 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime [in the U.S]” (Healthwise Staff,2012). However, worldwide there are, “over 200 million people are suffering from this disease” (Eur J Rheumatology, European Journal of Rheumatology, 2016). In 1990 an estimation worldwide indicated a cost of $34.8 billion (U.S. currency). However, by 2050 there will be an increase of $131.5 billion, “at a cost of $21,000 per patient” (Hua Jin and Yung Lu, Medical Decision Making, 2010)

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Some of the risk factors that led to osteoporosis are low-sex hormones, genetics, poor diet, smoking, consumption of alcohol, or medications. When developing menopause, women tend to decrease their levels of estrogen a female sex hormone that it’s involved in bone strength and increases bone density. As a result of low levels of estrogen, osteoclasts (bone-absorbing cells) outnumbers osteoblasts (bone-producing cells) weakening our bones. Having family members who are diagnosed with osteoporosis make you compatible since it can run in your genes and it’s a greater risk for you if they’ve an osteoporosis-related fracture. One of the functions of the skeletal system is storing calcium and phosphorus which enriches our bones with nutrients. By having a poor diet, we diminish the number of nutrients that our bones need to be healthy. Smoking and consuming alcohol affects the storing of calcium in our body. The substances in these types of products enable us to use calcium from our bones since it’s not providing consumers with enough calcium. Medications such as steroids that may be prescribed to patients with conditions such as asthma or lupus. Steroids change the “metabolism of calcium, vitamin D, and bone, leading to accelerated bone loss” (Osteoporosis and Steroid Mediactions).

To be conscious of osteoporosis, its recommended to take a bone-density test which confirms if you might be in risk of low bone density or breaking your bones. Bone density tests identify, “how many grams of calcium or other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone” (Mayo Clinic, 2017). A collapsed vertebra due to osteoporosis cause back pain and loss of height, “in order to assess the severity of vertebral fractures a semiquantitative method based on visual inspection has been developed [known as the radiological assessment of vertebral fracture]”. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to measure precise vertebral fractures. Also, a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanning can inspect the density of the bones or risks of fractures.

[bookmark: _Hlk20743807]Osteoporosis patients may acquire hormone-related treatment that enables strength in bones and prevent fractures. Hormone-related treatment can vary from $110 to $197 which depend on the patient’s frequency in the treatment. Costs can be covered by some insurance plans and patients who decline this treatment mostly have inadequate insurance coverage. Moreover, this treatment increases your levels of estrogen especially if you’re a female going through menopause and bone-mineral density. Patients who had heart disease or stroke don’t qualify for this treatment. Patients who neglect this treatment due to long-term risks such as blood clots or breast cancer may continue with bone loss and fractures. Patients with osteoporosis are recommended to perform low impact weight-bearing exercises including walking or aerobics. I would recommend for patients to take walk in parks or even at their home for free with no costs. Low impact aerobics sessions cost varies in ranges. Some gyms or programs have memberships that may cost $45 per month plus fees however people prefer assisting one session at a lower price. These weight-bearing exercises “[increases] the amount of nutrients reaching the spine” and “elevate heart rate without jarring the spine and worsening back pain.” () Patients who decline these treatments may continue with back pain and delay their process in building up their bone-density levels. Bisphosphonates are medications that prevent symptoms for osteoporosis including fractures or bone-mineral density. They can also increase calcium and help women past their menopause. Bisphosphonates are adequate in the creation of new osteoblasts that help repair bones and reduce the number of osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates also have side effects (muscle or joint aches) which enable patients to take this type of medications. According to GoodPx, the different types of bisphosphonates can range from $13-$1,081. Patients who have financial problems or can’t afford bisphosphonates medication suffer from decreases in calcium.

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