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Osteoporosis | Bone Disorders

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is most commonly associated with the elderly, and is more prevalent in women than in men. Symptoms include the gradual deterioration of the skeletal structure, which is why older people are more likely to fracture bones.

It is often difficult to prevent osteoporosis, as the decrease in bone is not associated with any discomfort or external symptoms. The presence of the disease often remains undetected until the patient is examined after a fracture has occurred. Older people are most likely to injure or fracture their hips during falls, particularly around the house. These hip fractures can often cause irreversible damage, paralysis and even death from related complications.

Diagnostic Tools

Regular x-rays are often not efficient in imaging the signs of osteoporosis at an advanced stage of skeletal decay. A relatively new form of imaging technology, known as Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), is much more effective as an early diagnostics tool, as it is able to detect early warning signs prior to fracture.

One of the most difficult aspects of the disease is that one fracture often leads to further weakening of the bone and subsequently more severe fractures.

Possible Contributing Factors

Genetics contribute greatly to whether an individual will develop osteoporosis and at what age the deterioration in skeletal structure first sets in. In addition to genetics, smoking, diet and exercise have a great influence on the severity of the disease. Weight lifting in particular has shown to be an effective way of slowing down bone deterioration. Sufficient vitamin D from sunlight and calcium from dairy products are an effective way of combating the development of osteoporosis. The loss of skeletal strength in women is linked to the post-menopausal decrease in oestrogen. In addition to prevention, some effective treatment options have recently become available for patients suffering from osteoporosis. These medications are able to prevent further deterioration of bone diseases and even restore skeletal mass in some cases.

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Test Your Knowledge

How Many Bones in the Human Body?

An adult has a total of 206 bones in their skeleton

How many Bones in a Child's Body?

A newborn baby has 270 bones in the skeletal system. Most of their skeleton is made up of cartilage which forms bone as it hardens over time. The bones in a child's skeleton fuse together as they grow, reducing the number, up until about 25 years old.

What is The Strongest Bone in the Human Body?

The femur or thigh bone is the strongest bone in the body. It is situated between the pelvis and the knee. It is also the longest bone in the body and is fully one quarter of your bodies' height.

What is the Weakest Bone in The Body?

The weakest bones in your body are the tiny bones inside your ear that enable you to hear. On the other hand; the most commonly fractured bone is the clavicle.

What is the Hardest Bone in the Body?

The hardest bone in the body is the petrous portion of the temporal bone. The temporal bones are found at the sides and base of the skull and the petrous portion is specifically the part at the base of the skull that contains the organs for hearing.

Where are the Smallest bones in Your Body Located?

The smallest bone in the body is called the stapes. It is a stirrup shaped bone found inside the ear drum that transmits vibrations enabling us to hear.

How many Bones are in the Leg?

A human leg contains 30 bones. There are 26 bones that make up the foot, and the four major bones of the leg, which are the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), the calf bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella)