WHAT IT IS
Osteoporosis is a condition of altered physiology of the bone. The bone is a dynamic tissue where the process of destruction and reconstruction is constantly balanced to maintain elasticity, which is essential in absorbing the shocks and stresses it undergoes daily.
This re-shaping process is ruled by the parathormone (a hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands) and vitamin D (known to be sensitive to the action of sunlight) and is affected by the quantity of calcium in the blood. With the passing of years, those subjects (especially women), who physiologically or because of external factors (such as therapies, inconsistent diets, bad eating habits, poor exposure to sun) have a progressive lack of one of the above-mentioned elements, are affected by an impoverishment of the bone which, to maintain its shape, becomes more and more rarefied and, therefore, weaker.
This process initially known as “osteopenia” turns in osteoporosis over the passing of years if it is not treated.
It is not a disease since it doesn’t have the characteristics that can threaten one’s life, but this progressive lack of the supporting matrix and calcium makes the bone more and more fragile, raising the risk of breakage (fracture).
Osteoporosis, with the risks it implies for the static of the body and the stability of the skeleton, is more and more important and involves a greater and greater number of women.
HOW DOES IT APPEAR?
The definition of a “silent plague” makes clear what this condition means; without perceptible symptoms, it mines the structure of the bones, makes them fragile, less elastic and less resistant: the words “glass bones” well define the osteoporotic segments.
In fact, osteoporosis often shows itself directly with a fracture, most often in the spine (the “collapse” of the vertebrae) or the femur.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE IT
Nowadays, there is only an exam that allows the diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis - the CBM (Computerized Bone Mineralometry); this exam allows the evaluation of bone density either through X-rays or ultra-sounds. Besides this, a radiographic exam of the spine allows the evaluation of the status of the segments that comprises it (the vertebrae); this exam completes the diagnosis and helps identify the specific therapy to prescribe. Then there are a few specific blood exams to check calcium and phosphorus levels as well as the functioning of the parathyroid glands.
HOW TO FIGHT IT
Prevention is the first action by taking moderate, but consistent, physical activity, food rich in calcium and exposing to the sun frequently.
It is recommended to carry out a therapy that can be defined as borderline between prevention and care with the addition of calcium and vitamin D. Besides that, one can prescribe bisphosphonates, or substances able to stimulate the formation of strong and elastic bones, with an important protein matrix and a quantity of calcium, which can make the bones stable and able to bear the load they undergo daily.
Several studies have disproved the common belief that mud therapy is harmful. On the contrary, they have showed that mud and bath therapy at the spas of Abano and Montegrotto is suitable for subjects suffering from osteoporosis and it is even recommended to improve the composition and sturdiness of the bone. A cycle of bath mud therapies, whether prescribed for therapy of the arthrosis and joint diseases or for osteoporosis, can have a combined therapeutic effect on both pathologies with a sure benefit for the person.
Last update: 20 December 2010