Aging plays havoc on the body and there are illnesses that affect the bones, although in different ways.
Degenerative bone disease is more commonly known as osteoporosis and is an illness that causes the bones to weaken, causing them to be prone to breakage. It is a common condition found as we age, however a sedentary lifestyle and lack of Vitamin D and calcium in the diet also contributes to this illness. There are contributors to this condition and it is not only older aged people who can develop this illness. Women over the age of 35 with a history of bone disease: people having a small stature: those who smoke, those of Asian descent or white descent have a greater chance of developing degenerative bone disease. Eating disorders like anorexia will also heighten the chance of Osteoporosis.
There are treatments available although the disease shows no real symptoms until years later. These treatments will halt and even reverse some of the damage due to bone loss. Evista, brand name for raloxifene, is similar to estrogen and is only available to women, as well as the drug Tamoxifen. Biphosphonates can restore bone loss in men due to steroid use.
Degenerative joint disease may sound similar but is different in that is it caused by use of a joint over time. The cartilage may become injured, torn, and can even wear away completely. When this happens, one side the bone surface on the joint is inclined to rub or glide against the bone on the opposite side of the joint, giving a less elastic joint exterior, and causing higher contact forces at the end of the bone. Over time, bone surfaces become hardened and ‘sclerotic’, a process that makes the bone look glossy and on x-rays emits a whitened look.
Many people have one of the three more common forms of osteoarthritis involving one or more joints as they age. The sites most commonly affected are the base of the thumb, the hands, and the knees.
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