By Dr. Shivendra Srivastava, Orthopaedics
With aging, body suffers loss of functions with the muscular and skeletal systems. Especially vulnerable are the bones as many elderly people suffer from loss of strength and fragility increasing the chances of fractures. Let’s look at some of the common bone related disorders in the elderly.
1. Osteoporosis – Possible the most common bone disease among elderly patients, osteoporosis is the thinning of the bones within an individual. Although both men and women are affected by it, women tend to suffer from this more. It isn’t usually detected until a small bump, slip or fall causes fractures. Some of its symptoms are:
a. Sudden back pain, especially in women which is caused by compression fracture
b. Loss of height in elderly people as the bones thin
c. Visible shrinking of body frames due to thinning of the bones.
2. Osteoarthritis – A problem of the joints, this happens when the cartilage between the bones wears down and results in friction within the joints. Movements can become very painful and even result in the loss of mobility. It is estimated that most people over the age of 75 have osteoarthritis in at least one joint in their body.
3. Paget’s Disease – This disease is characterized by abnormalities in bone formation and apart from being painful, can also result in malignant bone tumors. The bones in your body are constantly being remodeled. However, patients who suffer from Paget’s disease can have abnormal removal or formation of bones resulting in weak and deformed bones which are prone to fractures even from the slightest injuries.
4. Rheumatoid Arthritis – This is condition is where the joints are inflamed within the body and causes pain during movement. Although it can occur with people under the age of 45, the incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis tends to increase among the elderly population. Changes in lifestyle and diet are known to easily reduce the symptoms in this disorder.