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What is Osteoporosis?


Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease in which the bones become thinner and weaker.  This causes changes to posture, loss of height, dowager’s hump and spinal pain.  Osteoporosis also increases susceptibility to bone fractures. 


Osteoporosis has the potential to affect both men and women, however postmenopausal women are most at risk.  This is due to the fact that after menopause there is diminished oestrogen and progesterone levels in the body and this increases the rate of bone loss.  It has been estimated that half of all women between the ages of 45 and 75 years of age show signs of some degree of osteoporosis.   



Signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis


*  Acute onset of back pain

*  Compression fracture

*  Hunched forward or bent stature

*  Limited mobility and possibly disability

*  Loss of height

*  Osteoporotic fractures



Risk Factors for Osteoporosis


*  Alcoholism

*  Amenorrhoea

*  Being post-menopausal

*  Bilateral oophorectomy

*  Cadmium or lead toxicity

*  Carbonated drink consumption

*  Chronic kidney disease

*  Chronic liver disease

*  Coeliac disease

*  Corticosteroid use

*  Coffee consumption

*  Early menopause (<45 years)

*  Endocrine disorders

*  Family history of osteoporotic fracture  

*  Hyperthyroidism

*  Lack of exercise

*  Low body weight

*  Low calcium and vitamin D intake

*  Low protein diet

*  Milk intolerance

*  Oestrogen deficiency

*  Oral contraceptive use

*  Rheumatologic disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis)

*  Smoking

*  Strict vegetarianism



Osteoporosis Risk Assessment


Unfortunately osteoporosis is often not detected until it is well advanced.  A bone fracture (most commonly the hip) may be one of the first signs of osteoporosis.  Early detection of osteoporosis can facilitate successful treatment and reduce the risk of further development of the disease.


The Osteoporosis Risk Assessment is a urine test which measures the risk of osteoporosis by detecting the rate of bone breakdown well before significant changes are obvious on bone mineral density scans.  Research indicates that elevated bone breakdown is the primary cause of age-related bone loss and low bone mass is the major cause of osteoporosis.


The Osteoporosis Risk Assessment can also be used to monitor the efficacy of osteoporosis treatment. 


How is the test performed?


You are provided with an Osteoporosis Risk Assessment urine test kit.  In the privacy of your own home, you very easily collect two urine specimens.  These are sent off to the laboratory to be analysed and tested. 



Further testing


The Osteoporosis Risk Assessment can also be used in conjunction with DNA profiling to assess risk of osteoporosis and individualise treatment. 






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