The Story of George
By: Eden A
I couldn’t believe it.
My doctor told me, I had Osteoporosis. My muscles slowly weakened. I was tired and I wanted to give up more than ever.
I cried uncontrollably, since I didn’t know that I was actually living with Osteoporosis. The good news was when I was initially diagnosed, the doctors said the disease wasn’t that bad and that I wouldn’t have a fracture.
Even though I felt anxious, my anxiety dissipated each day, I made an effort to become more positive day by day. After my parents found out, I told my best friend Jesse. Jesse was curious, and wanted to know: what causes Osteoporosis? Osteoporosis can spread genetically, such as through family members. My grandma predisposed me to have a hip fracture due to her genes carrying a higher risk for osteoporosis. Additionally, Grandma gained a lot of trauma from the osteoporosis that she suffered from. Regardless, my Grandma persevered through the challenges her disease caused, and would take me to school and would go to her weekly doctor appointments. Today, she inspires me daily as she stands in front of me after her trials and tribulations.
What exactly is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis (meaning that you have less bone mass) causes bones to weaken and become brittle so that when a person moves, it could cause a fracture. Osteoporosis can be related to the hip, or spine which can commonly occur. Some symptoms of Osteoporosis include back pain which can cause the pain and a fracture to collapse, loss of height overtime, and weak bones that break easily. When we talk about complications, bone fractures especially in the spine or hip can be the most serious which can commonly be caused by a fall. This could result in the patient having a disability, which can increase in severity all the way till death. Spinal fractures can occur even if an individual didn’t fall since the bones making up the spine could be weakened to the point of collapsing.
Lastly, the risks of being diagnosed with osteoporosis can increase with age, and that can also be linked to ethnicity. It is important to know, genetics can factor into causing osteoporosis. It is not just one thing that can cause osteoporosis, and that there are treatments available. For treatment, it may include exercise, vitamin/mineral supplements, and some medications. Some medications that could be included to help ease osteoporosis are bisphosphonates. They are drugs that help slow down bone loss. Pills are also helpful for supplements, what could be included is alendronate, which is available as an oral tablet or could be added to water, it can be taken daily or weekly. Another common pill that could be helpful is Ibandronate and it can be taken on a monthly basis or through an injection every 3 months. As well, as Risedronate which is an oral tablet that could be taken daily, weekly or monthly. Lastly, Zoledronic acids are a type of medication that is available as an IV infusion which a person could receive once every 1-2 years.
The exercises that are helpful to those living with osteoporosis are things like weight-bearing which allows your body to fight against gravity that could help strengthen bones. Another thing, like balance exercises like yoga, could actually help with balance. Also, a common one like flexibility that could help you stretch, as it also helps you feel good in the end.
Thanks for reading the second installment in our orthopedic series! If you liked this article, please like, comment, and head on over to read our article on Dwarfism, linked here.
Please stay tuned for our next series of Gen Z Health Issues, coming up shortly.
Eden and the Writing Committee :)
Sources- Osteoporosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Causes, Tests & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)
Osteoporosis medication: Types, uses, side effects (medicalnewstoday.com)
Effective exercises for osteoporosis - Harvard Health