It is in the world domain that the human species is faced by many challenges. These challenges can be classified under natural disasters or man induced disasters. If we were to look at epidemics, we can say that the human species dwells in a world where at one time or the other one has to be attacked by an abnormal condition. Abnormal condition negatively affects some part or the whole body of an organism, preventing it from operating at maximum potential. When an organism experiences abnormal conditions it is said it is sick or has a disease.
There are many diseases in the world. Some are curable while others are not. For example, every since the discovery of Hiv/Aids, no cure has been engineered yet. However, the disease can be contained under medication, although it is not curable once it has attached itself to an organism. This case study seeks to investigate osteoporosis. In definition, medical practitioners define this disease as a progressive decrease in bones mass and density in a human being (Marcus et al, 2013). This decrease in density and bone mass can lead to easy bones fractures as the disease can also makes the bones porous. In fact, the terminology “Osteoporosis” is derived from the phrase “porous bones”, from the Greek words ostoun and poros which means “bone” and “pore” respectively (Marcus et al, 2013). This disease is characterized in deteriorating bone micro architecture due to the reduced bone mineral density (BMD), and quite a large variety of bone density and mass is altered. Due to these characteristics of the disease, the World Health Organization defines Osteoporosis as bone mineral density of just below 2.5 standard deviations (Marcus et al, 2013).
Osteoporosis can be divided into three types; primary type 1, primary type 2 and the secondary type. In primary type 1, this disease is referred to as so when it occurs in women after they have reached their menopause stage. This type is also called postmenopausal osteoporosis. The primary type 2 is characterized as the one which occurs at the age or 75 years and above. The primary type 2, which is also referred to as senile osteoporosis affects both men and women at this age at a ratio of 1:2 (Epstein, 2012). However, when it comes to secondary osteoporosis, it affects men and women equally, and it has no age limitations as it can affect both genders and at any stage. As a result, secondary osteoporosis can result from issues such as prolonged use of medication, different diseases or even chronic predisposing medical problems. For instance, many times we hear of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, which emanates from prolonged use of glucocorticoid medication.
Osteoporosis inhibits no prevalent symptoms that one can tell with a naked eye. As a result, most of its cases go unnoticed until and individual suffers one or more bone fractures (Wishart, 2012). These fractures most often occur in human body regions where a healthy human being is not expected to suffer one; hence the abnormality makes a medical practitioner suspect it could be osteoporosis. The regions where typical fragility structures may be observed include: ribs, wrists, vertebral column and the hip. Additionally, medical practitioners are nowadays advising individuals who experience backaches accompanied by stooped posture and gradual weight loss to take testes for osteoporosis.
This disease has been associated with many risk factors. These factors include age, heredity, race, body stature of an individual and the number of times one may have experienced a fall (Hoffman, 2008). When it comes to age, senior citizens develop the disease at a higher rate than young citizens. In race, in as much as this disease cuts across all races, individuals of Asian and European ancestry are affected by this disease than ones with different ancestral backgrounds. People who are also strong body stature have minimal chances of developing the disease tan their small body stature counterparts. People have also had fractures from falls or accidents in their tender ages may develop the disease in their senior ages.
Consequently, there are many practices considered for preventing the development of this disease. If these practices are not kept in check, they can lead to the development of the disease, or become precipitating factors for its development. Practices to avoid in trying to curb this disease include; avoiding tobacco smoking, excess alcohol consumption, being underweight, excess consumption of soft drinks, high dietary protein, lots of endurance training in women, and vitamin D deficiency (Marcus et al, 2013).
Vitamin D deficiency has been picked out as a primal cause of Osteoporosis development. Since vitamin D is processed in the bones themselves, if there is insufficient production, there are many other processes of the body that get affected, developing many medical complications. Vitamin D has many functions in our bodies. Many people take the main function of vitamin D as only to prevent rickets through improving as well as regulating bone health. Well, this is not the case. This vitamin has many other functions. They include; promoting immune health, cardiovascular health, controlling blood pressure, enhanced muscle function, insulin regulation as well as cancer prevention (Epstein, 2012). Through vitamin D synthesis, regulation of body health is achieved through constant flow, and synthesis of calcium and phosphorus in a human body. These are the main mineral contents that make up the human bone as they combine to form hydroxyapatite, a substance that makes more than 50% of any bone composition (Wishart, 2012). The health of the bone is determined by many factors including estrogen and testosterone. However, hydroxyapatite ensures regular metabolism of calcium and phosphorus as well as their passage in human body.
These elements also being in the bones makes sure that any health matters that would arise from deficiency of calcium and phosphorus (e.g. osteoporosis) are addressed. This is through providing two regulator hormones found in the bone in form of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid glands excrete calcium from the bones whenever this element is running low in other parts of the body boosting our health. The PTH also ensures that balanced calcium levels are retained in our kidneys and also excretion of phosphorus for different metabolic activities in the body is maintained. When vitamin D is excreted in the bones, it assists the small intestines in enhancing their absorption activity in the human body. Vitamin D also assists our kidneys in retaining calcium as well as promoting excretion of phosphorus from the bones for any metabolic activity in the body (Wishart, 2012). Therefore, these two hormones work together in keeping P+ together with Ca+ levels in check in the blood stream.
That leads us to the next function; cardiovascular health as well as blood pressure regulation. The human body has a system commonly referred to as the rennin-angiotensin system by scientists. This system is responsible for keeping the blood pressure in check especially in situations where it may be below the recommended levels. Therefore, it is up to this system to make sure that the blood pressure never gets too low, or too high in effort of maintaining the right pressure. Vitamin D plays a vital and direct role in ensuring that never happens. This is because it inhibits as well as enhances the activity of this system. According to Hoffman, the main function of vitamin D in this system is to ensure that this it does not again raise the blood pressure too high while executing its correction measures (Hoffman, 2008). Other than that, scientists believe that vitamin D also plays other vital roles of inhibiting as well as keeping different cardiac vascular activities in check. Scientists continue to research on other benefits of vitamin D in other cardiac vascular activities. However, people are aware that vitamin D helps in healing processes of the heart tissue especially in cases where heart attacks have been observed.
Other than the above function, vitamin D helps in regulating as well as inhibiting the activities of the immune system in a human body (Epstein, 2012). Scientists have embarked on large scale research on the contributions of this vitamin, more so on the immune system, after it proved to contribute a great deal in regulating different diseases. They include; multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease as well as many other autoimmune diseases. In short, there are many functions that Vitamin D play in the body other than just prevention of Osteoporosis, hence its production region, which is in the bones, need to be kept healthy at all times.
As a result of the above facts of vitamin D together with consumption food with sufficient calcium are advised as some of the management practices of the disease. In fact, overall treatment practices for osteoporosis include; usage of bone-friendly medicines (e.g. bisphosphonates), prevention of falls, eating healthy diets with calcium and phosphorus, avoiding excess intoxication (smoking tobacco and excessive drinking) and getting sufficient vitamin D.
Epstein, S. (2012). Vitamin D. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders.
Hoffmann, G. (2008). Osteoporosis. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.
In Marcus, R., In Feldman, D., In Dempster, D. W., In Luckey, M., & In Cauley, J. A. (2013). Osteoporosis. (eBooks on EBSCOhost.)
Wishart, I. (2012). Vitamin D. Auckland, N.Z: Howling At The Moon Pub.