Osteoporosis Biology Term Paper

2219 words - 9 pages

Bradley Kingery & Malik Barber
BIO 103-AC01
Professor John Law

The Skeletal System

Osteoporosis is a disease that makes bones fragile and more susceptible to fracture over time. It occurs when your body is losing bone cells faster than it can produce them, causing the bones to thin. It effects about half of all women over age 65, and close to one-fifth of men over 70. The most common injury in osteoporosis is ‘dowager’s hump,’ which is caused by the collapsing of the bones of the spine. This causes the curvature of the spine that the disease is so infamous for. Other common injuries include forearm fractures, knee fractures, and hip fractures which ...view middle of the document...

However, it is inevitable that as you age you will lose more bone than you form. After reaching peak bone mass, slowly but surely bone formation will begin to slow and bone loss will gradually speed up. By the time we reach age 40, bone loss has sped up in both men and women. In most cases, bone loss in women increases after they reach menopause. After five to seven post-menopausal years women lose around 20 percent of bone density.
Osteoporosis is a disease defined when you are losing too much bone, too little, or both. This causes your bones to become brittle and more susceptible to fracture, even from simple occurrences such as bumping into a wall or getting up too quickly.
The term Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When observed under a microscope, healthy bone will appear to have a net-like structure, often referred to as honeycomb. As bone density drops, the holes and spaces between bone cells become much larger than in someone with peak bone mass. This means your bone mass has become significantly lower and that you may have osteoporosis. Naturally, as the bones become less dense they are more likely to fracture. After age 50, if you break a bone it is recommended the person has a bone density test to see if they have osteoporosis.
Among older ages, breaking a bone becomes far more serious especially breaking a bone due to osteoporosis. The most common fractures due to osteoporosis appear in the hip and spine, but many others can break too. These fractures cause significantly more severe pain than normal broken bones that does not go away for some time. People with osteoporosis have also been known to become shorter. This is caused by the vertebrae in the spine breaking or collapsing, which alters your natural posture and causes you to stand with a hunch.
Due to the increased awareness and cautious lifestyle osteoporosis forces you to have, the disease can change your life for good. Osteoporosis prohibits people from moving around the way they used to which can actually make it harder to enjoy life. Because of this some sufferers of osteoporosis experience feelings of depression, isolation, and even helplessness. Aside from emotional damage from broken bones, these fractures can also lead to other health problems. Breaking a hip can actually be fatal, as twenty percent of seniors who fracture their hip also die due to either complication from surgery or from the bone itself. Survivors of hip fractures and other serious fractures often need long term care in nursing homes.

Osteoporosis is also a very costly disease. Over two million broken bones and nineteen billion dollars are attributed to osteoporosis every year. By the year 2025, those numbers will rise to twenty-five billion dollars and over three million fractures, according to experts. Osteoporosis is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in related costs every year.
Often times people cannot feel the slow process of the bones becoming weaker, which is...

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