Prognosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis
Prognosis of Osteoporosis
Although, medicines and life-style changes can help to manage osteoporosis, it is not possible to reverse the degenerative changes. The outlook for people with osteoporosis is good, especially if the problem is detected and treated in early stages. Bone density, even in severe osteoporosis, can generally be stabilized or improved in some cases. The risk of fractures can be substantially reduced with treatment. People with mild osteoporosis in early stages have an excellent outlook. The pain due to minor fractures usually goes away within a week or two.
In some people, where the root cause of osteoporosis is known, the outlook is especially good if the cause is timely identified and corrected. However, recovery from fractures in individuals with osteoporosis can be slow and with complications, leading to poor outcome. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, 70 percent of which occur in women. Only 33 percent of all individuals who have sustained an osteoporotic fracture return to their pre-fracture level of activity and function. Apart from risk of death and other complications, osteoporotic fractures are associated with a reduced health-related quality of life.
• Hip Fractures- Osteoporosis is one of the leading causes of loss of independence. After a hip fracture many patients need nursing home care. Of the women who have a fracture of the hip, about 50 percent stay in nursing homes during the recovery period, and 14 percent of all individuals with hip fractures will still be in a nursing home one year or longer after the fracture has occurred. Twenty percent of women and 30 to 50 percent of men who have sustained a hip fracture, secondary to osteoporosis die within one year of the fracture.
Hip fractures can lead to decreased mobility and additional risks of numerous complications-such as deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (due to blood clots), and pneumonia (due to infections). After a hip fracture some patients will not be able to walk, while others will eventually walk again but after rehabilitation and physical therapy. It is important to work hard and follow exercise programs after a hip fracture because of associated high mortality and loss of mobility risk. The six-month mortality rate following hip fracture is around 13.5 percent, and almost 13 percent of people who have suffered a hip fracture need total assistance to mobilize after a hip fracture.
• Vertebral Fractures- Vertebral fractures generally do not cause mortality, but can lead to severe uncontrollable chronic pain. The vertebral fractures cause height loss, curvature of the spine, and muscle aching. The irreversible height loss associated with osteoporosis is one of the aspects of the disease that is most distressing to many women. They have trouble reaching high shelves, driving car, and are at greater risk of airbag injuries.
When women and men suffer from compression fractures, the pain usually lasts from one to two months and is localized to the back with accompanying muscle spasms. Though rare, multiple vertebral fractures can lead to hunched forward posture (Kyphosis). Kyphosis leads to resulting pressure on internal organs, which can impair one’s ability to breathe. This can cause reflux esophagitis, and protruding abdomen.
• Osteoporosis and Pregnancy- It is unusual for a woman to have osteoporosis during early age. Osteoporosis itself does not prevent a woman from becoming pregnant but in severe cases of osteoporosis, women get fractures in their spine during pregnancy. Spinal fractures are painful, but do not harm the baby. If a woman has serious osteoporosis during pregnancy, physicians might try to deliver the baby by Caesarian section because her pelvic bones might not be able to allow safe passage of the baby’s head.