Osteoporosis is a loss of normal density of bone. Disorder of the skeleton, weakens the bone, and leads to increase risk of a fracture. A minor fall or injury normally would not cause a bone fracture, however is highly susceptible. Osteoporosis contributes to more than 1.5 million bone fractures each year. Common areas of fracture are in the spine, hips and wrist (Fracturing the arm bone (radius) where it joins the wrist, called a Colles fracture, common in people with osteoporosis.), although osteoporosis related fractures, also occur in almost any area of the skeleton. Most of the time, patients may not be aware having osteoporosis until suffering a painful fracture (silent disease).
For example: Walking or stepping of a curb can lead to a stress fracture (or hairline fracture – very small crack in the bone. Most stress fractures only visible by an MRI or CT scan). These types of fractures tend to heal slowly in people who have osteoporosis. A spine fracture due to osteoporosis is likely to occur again, within the next few years. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, ten million people in the United States have osteoporosis and additional 34 million have low bone mass and risk developing this disease.
The National Institute of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases estimates, one out of every two women over the age 50 having osteoporosis, will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in her lifetime. Also, women age 65 years or older who fracture a hip twenty-one percent will die within one year. The weakening of normal bone is categorized by Type one or Type Two osteoporosis. Type One occurs only in post-menopausal women due to estrogen deficiency. Type Two occurs in men and women (More frequently in women), due to aging, and calcium deficiency. Women have increased odds of developing osteoporosis if their calcium is not replenished, during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
A quantitative computed tomogram x-ray measures bone density, which is how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals (including phosphorus) are packed into a segment of bone. Preferably a higher mineral count is desirable against osteoporosis. Bones progressively increase in density until a maximum level is reached, around age 30 years. The bone density score is measured by a standard deviations, above or below what is normally expected for someone’s age, weight, ethnic or racial origin. A score above minus one: Bone density is considered normal. Between minus one and minus 2.5 score: May develop osteoporosis.
Score below minus 2.5: Indicates development of osteoporosis. The U.S. Preventive Serves Task Force recommends women at least 65 years old have bone density test. Those high risk developing osteoporosis are white or Southeast Asian descent. Black and Hispanic men and women have a lower risk developing bone density disorder. Other risk factors attributed developing osteoporosis includes: Low body weight, past history of fractures, heredity history, and certain medication can cause bone loss. Also, during childhood inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, anorexia, inactivity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and men with decreased testosterone levels.
Preferably the best treatment or prevention of osteoporosis, regiment of regular exercise, diet of foods enriched with calcium and vitamin D (or taking supplements), quit smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, and building to maximize bone mass starting at a young age. Relying on calcium supplements is not a good choice, absorbed usually too low to be effective, and may cause kidney stones. However, Ezorb Calcium has 92% absorption rate, doesn’t have any side effects, stimulates osteoblast (bone forming cells) and collagen production (adds tenacity and flexibility in the bone), and increases bond density within a few months. Several types of medications are available to treat osteoporosis. Bisphosphanates (Fosamax) helps to regulate calcium and prevent bone breakdown.
The drug has been marketed by Merck, which will lose the patent protection in February 2008. However, the company has two potential osteoporosis drugs in human testing. Discovered in 2004, and published in the Journal of Oral and Maxilllofacial Surgeons, showed the side effects of Foxamax cause Osteonecrosis (dead Jaw), a disease in which bone tissue in the jaw does not heal after minor traumas. Surgery maybe required, removing dead and dying bone tissue, if antibiotic therapy is not effective. Calcitonin (Miacalcin) is prescribed more often as nasal spray than taken by injection, which inhibits the function of cells that break down bone, and has no unpleasant side affects.
Also, decreases pain associated with osteoporosis fractures. Raloxifene (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator or SERM) similar to estrogen, which increases bone mass and lowers cholesterol. Estrogen hormonal replacement therapy increases bone mass after menopause. Also, known to decrease risk of colon cancer, and fewer postmenopausal symptoms. In January 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced estrogen products be labeled with a warning, increased risk for heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and breast cancer.
In 2006, Norvartis pharmaceuticals (East Hanover, New Jersey) completed an international study of Reclast (administered once a year to prevent spine and hip fractures related osteoporosis), including twenty-seven countries (Phase three – last phase of studies needed for FDA consideration) of more than 7,700 postmenopausel women (average age: 73) who have osteoporosis, preventing spine and hip fractures.
Reclast is one of many drugs called bisphosphates, slows down the speed at which cells called osteoclasts break down bone while other cells build them up. Also, the medication contains an ingredient called zoledronic acid (five mgs), which Norvartis includes in Zometa, a drug used to treat cancer related bone problems. Majority of known side affects occurring within the first three days following Reclast administration: Fever, muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, headache, and bone pain. Researchers compared Norvartis and Fosamax among 220 participants. Conclusion of the study, more than three-fourths said they preferred yearly infusion compared taking a weekly pill. In September 16, 2006, the data related to Reclast was presented at the annual meeting of American Society of Bone and Mineral Research in Philadelphia. The conclusion of the study, shown 70 percent less likely to get additional spine fracture and 40 percent less likely to get hip fractures, during three years of the investigation. The infusion takes about 15 minutes. In early 2007, Norvartis plans to apply to the FDA for approval to sell Reclast as an osteoporosis treatment.