Silent Enemy

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Maribel Ruvalcaba
Biology 384N
T/Th 1:30-3:10
December 7, 2010
Silent Enemy
Many people have serious health problems they may not be aware of. One of these health problems is Osteoporosis. Most people do not even know that Osteoporosis exists; they have no knowledge of what this disease is about or how to prevent it. In the article “c-Maf and you won’t see fat” Laurie McCauley defines Osteoporosis as “a metabolic bone disease that results from an imbalance between the process of bone formation and bone resorption, leading to reduce bone mass and increased susceptibility to fracture.” And according to Matthew Taylor, in his article “Osteoporosis: An Opportunity to Serve” Osteoporosis was “only officially recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization in 1994.” This illustrates to us that before 1994 the public was uninformed about Osteoporosis, and even today many people are still unaware of this disease. In todays fast pace society most people take everything related to their bodies for granted and are not interested in knowing how their bones develop or what factors contribute to deteriorate them. It is very important to know that bones are made of collagen, it gives the bone flexibility; calcium phosphate that makes bone hard and strong; and bone cells that remove and replace weakened sections of bone. Anjela Shepher in her article “An Overview of Osteoporosis” explains that the bone cells called Osteoclasts “are attracted to an area of microdamage; once they have resorbed the bone, Osteoblasts are recruited to synthesize replacement bone. Osteoporosis results from an imbalance in the process due to the failure of the Osteblasts to repair the bone removed by the Osteoclasts.” A lot of things happen inside our body without us being aware of it; people cannot feel their bones becoming weaker, they could have Osteoporosis or be at risk without realizing it. Osteoporosis is a silent enemy since the first symptom is a broken bone; lifestyle and calcium deficiency make people more prone to this disease but it can be preventable. One of the most important factors in determining vulnerability to this disease is gender. “Women have a higher prevalence of Osteoporosis than men due to the accelerated bone loss from the estrogen deficient state of menopause. During the 5-7 years of menopause, women lose 5-7% of their bone strength.” (Shepherd, 2004). Estrogen is one of the hormones that regulate calcium levels in the bones; this explains why women are more vulnerable to Osteoporosis after menopause. Stephanie Tung in her article “Evolution, Aging, and Osteoporosis” says that “the process that contributes to bone loss actually begins by 30 years of age and continues relentlessly until death.” This shows us that Osteoporosis is a consequence of the aging process since nothing is disturbed in a significant way on the bones until people reach certain age. Aging cannot be stopped or delayed, but estrogen levels can somewhat be regulated to help women not to undergo Osteoporosis. Another important factor for having porous bones is a sedentary lifestyle. When people get older they tend to not move around as much as when they were younger, and this inactivity affects their bone mass. Bone mass increases until the age of 20 to 30, after reaching this age the rate of bone formation and bone breakdown is the same until ages 40 to 50. Wick G. in his article “Diseases of Aging” states that “after the age of 50 years, a small, but significant loss of bone mass (0.5-1%/year) occurs, and is considered a normal age-dependent phenomenon that affects females and males equally. This physiological loss of bone mass can be counteracted by appropriate preventive measures. If the annual bone mass exceeds 1.5-2%/year we speak about Osteoporosis.” As a preventive measure people need be more active to stimulate their bones to become denser and minimize bone loss. Leslie D. William in her article “A Before-and-After Study...
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