The widespread disease osteoporosis
When a normal ageing process, which includes a decrease in bone strength and density, becomes a threat to health, it is called osteoporosis or bone loss. This does not happen overnight, so many patients do not recognise the time when they need to take action. An early osteoporosis test prevents this and, thanks to early detection, makes it possible to start therapy in time and maintain the health and stability of the bones for as long as possible.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is one of the top ten common diseases in Germany. The disease - also known as bone loss - typically occurs after the age of 50 and mainly affects women after the menopause, but often earlier. Without tests for early detection, osteoporosis only becomes apparent when it has already left clear traces on the skeleton: A crooked back like a widow's hump or painful bone fractures can be the result. Men also suffer from osteoporosis, but usually later, often at the age of 70.
We speak of osteoporosis when a normal ageing process, in which the strength and density of the bones decrease, becomes a threat to health. This does not happen overnight, but insidiously, which is why most patients do not recognise the time when they need to take action. The only thing that helps here is an early osteoporosis test. It makes it possible to take preventive measures or start therapy in time and to maintain the health and stability of the bones for as long as possible.
Your risk in numbers
- In 2020, there were an estimated
5.2 million women and 1.1 million men
aged 50 and over had osteoporosis.
(Osteoporosis Action Alliance).
- This means that every fourth woman over 50 is affected.
- Less than a quarter of all cases are diagnosed early and treated adequately.
(International Osteoporosis Foundation)
- 80 percent of osteoporosis patients are women. They become ill particularly often after the menopause, because the lowered oestrogen level negatively affects bone metabolism. Within 4 years, more than half of those affected suffer a fracture.
What happens with osteoporosis?
Every bone is made up of a dense network of bone bellicles on the inside, which make the bone stable. This tissue - the cancellous bone - looks like a fine-pored sponge. With ageing, larger and larger cavities develop in the cancellous bone, and the structure of the bone becomes more brittle. If the bone density decreases too much, this is called osteoporosis.
Throughout life, the body builds up and breaks down bone substance. Up to the age of about 35, the building process predominates and bone mass increases steadily. After that, the bone mass decreases. We lose more bone substance than we produce, normally up to six percent annually - regardless of gender. If this effect is intensified by hormonal changes, genetic stress or other factors such as medication, the bone can become unstable.
Course of the disease and prognosis
Osteoporosis cannot yet be cured, but it can be easily stopped by targeted diet and exercise as well as therapy. This is why early diagnosis and treatment are so important. Otherwise, bone loss will progress until the first fracture occurs. A bone fracture in old age can have serious consequences.
First bone fractures statistically occur around 6-12 years after the last menstrual period. Age-related osteoporosis, which can affect both men and women, often results in fractures of the neck of the femur.
With each fracture, the statistical risk of getting another fracture increases up to four or five times.
Osteoporotic fractures are difficult to treat and heal poorly because porous bones are slow to grow back together and stabilising implants have difficulty holding them in place.
Femoral neck fractures are particularly costly and consequential. More than 90 percent of patients with femoral neck fractures have reduced bone density.
More than half of those affected remain dependent on care and support for the rest of their lives despite subsequent treatment.