nurse01.jpg (3480 bytes) shpslogo01.jpg (6992 bytes)

The Musculoskeletal System, Part 1

1-8. OSTEOPOROSIS

Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disorder. The rate of bone resorption accelerates at the same time the rate of bone formation slows down. The result is a loss of bone mass. The bones that are affected by this disease lose calcium and phosphate a salt that causes the bones to become porous, brittle, and abnormally vulnerable to fracture. This condition affects the entire skeletal system eventually allowing the spine to curve, the thorax to drop, and the ribs to fall on the pelvic rim.

a. Cause of Osteoporosis. Included are the following:

(1) A mild but prolonged lack of adequate calcium intake

(2) Decrease or loss of anabolic sex hormone (anabolism = formation of living tissue from simple substances).

(3) Bone atrophy (wasting and loss of function) of the hands, wrists, or feet following minor injuries. (Also called Sudeck's atrophy)

(4) Excess of catabolic hormones (body compounds which breakdown chemical substances into more basic parts).

(5) Malabsorption syndrome (body's ability to absorb nutritional elements is impaired).

b. Signs/Symptoms of Osteoporosis. Included are:

(1) Pain in the lumbar spine.

(2) Tendency to kyphosis (an exaggeration of the thoracic curve of the vertebral column resulting in a round-shouldered or hunched back appearance.

(3) Kidney stones from hypercalciuria (too much calcium in the urine).

c. Treatment of Osteoporosis. Follow these instructions:

(1) Follow a high protein diet, supplementary calcium, and multivitamin pills.

(2) Increase fluid intake.

(3) Sleep on a firm surface.

(4) Increase physical activity.

NOTE: Among the factors implicated in bone loss are a decrease in estrogen in women, calcium deficiency, malabsorption of calcium, vitamin D deficiency, loss of muscle mass, and inactivity.

Important Medical Disclaimer

It is not the intention of SweetHaven Publishing Services or its affilates to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide students of medical technology and allied health professions with information that is helpful for their education and pursuit of their profession. The information provided here is to not be construed as medical advice, and SweetHaven Publishing Services urges visitors outside the medical professions to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal questions.

Published by SweetHaven Publishing Services

Copyright 2004 SweetHaven Publishing Services
All rights reserved