Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin, weak and fragile. As a result, even a minor bump or accident can cause a fracture. Such events might include falling out of a bed or chair, or tripping and falling while walking. Fractures due to osteoporosis can result in chronic pain, disability, loss of independence and premature death.
Risk factors associated with the development of osteoporosis include increasing age, female sex, family history of the condition, low vitamin D levels, low intake of calcium, low body weight, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, long-term corticosteroid use and reduced oestrogen level. Osteoporosis is also common in people with malabsorption disorders such as coeliac disease and with certain hormonal disorders such as thyroxine excess.
Osteoporosis is managed using medicine, behaviour modification and medical care. Medicines for managing osteoporosis include drugs that reduce bone breakdown, which must be administered regularly. These include oral bisphosphonates such as alendronate and risedronate, intravenously administered bisphosphonate, and an injection given under the skin. People with osteoporosis are encouraged to prevent fractures by avoiding falls.
Quality of life can be severely compromised for people with osteoporosis, particularly if they fall and sustain a fracture. Wrist and forearm fractures may affect the ability to write or type, prepare meals, perform personal care tasks and manage household chores. Fractures of the spine and hip can affect mobility, making activities such as walking, bending, lifting, pulling or pushing difficult. Hip fractures, in particular, often lead to a marked loss of independence, and reduced wellbeing.
Osteoporosis is largely a preventable disease. Primary prevention includes getting enough calcium and vitamin D, keeping physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping alcohol intakes low and not smoking.
Cholecalciferol is another name for vitamin D3. This is important for the absorption of calcium from the stomach and for the functioning of calcium in the body. Cholecalciferol is made in the body by the action of UV light on cholesterol in the skin or it may be obtained from diet. Few Australians obtain enough vitamin D from their diet and many do not or cannot get an adequate sun exposure to make enough vitamin D.
Cholecalciferol is used to treat or prevent many conditions caused by a lack of vitamin D, especially conditions of the skin or bones including osteoporosis.
Our compounding pharmacists offer advise and, if preferred, private consolations to help women understand their own health needs. Our pharmacists can guide you on how to live a healthier lifestyle and avoid health problems that typically affect women.
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