Anatomy and Physiology – Bones – Osteoporosis

So to many of us, the idea of getting old sucks, but what about getting Osteoporosis?

 

Osteoporosis is a condition that makes bone brittle.

 

Getting old and being a female is a risk in itself, but having low bone mass – osteopenia, puts the risk for osteoporosis higher. Low bone mass can result in bones breaking due to regular lifestyle wear and tear. It is an interesting note to look at hip replacement failure – there is a higher incidence in patients who are younger since they are generally more physically active.

The effects of of this condition is largely due to a depletion of calcium in the body, it is important to consider the thyroid function. Osteoporosis effects the whole body, not just hips or knees. The Spine can be effected and Osteoporosis can be in play when you see a larger range of elderly people hunched over or through the stereotypical idea that people get shorter as they age – which can be due to osteoporosis.

How might osteoporosis impact on the life of an elderly person?

We all generalise that as people age, they become more frail, but with osteoporosis this is really the case. A simple fall or knock could result in some serious damage being done. Everyday activities can result in a one way trip to hospital, providing they can even make it to a phone if they live alone.

For example if an elderly woman lives alone  and is suffering from Osteoporosis, if she falls and that results in a bone breakage, there may be no way for her to call for help and may become trapped at one end of the house with no way to get assistance. It can really cause a lot of anxiety in sufferers and cause fear to be left alone. Unfortunately this occurs too regularly where an elderly person will suffer a bone breakage and become unable to call for assistance, leaving them reliant on someone to check in on them to alert the hospital and health care services. This is a form of alienation, which can aggravate anxiety and depression in the elderly who may become to feel uncomfortable being alone and performing routine everyday tasks.

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