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Saturday, 21 October 2017

There are over 200 types of rheumatic disease and over nine million people in the UK have some form of arthritis. Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Most people with arthritis will experience pain and some difficulty in moving around.

Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children. It is not clear what causes it and there is no cure at present. However, treatment can largely alleviate the symptoms and enable people to continue to live an active life, although some modifications may be necessary.

Rheumatic Conditions FAQs

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis means, literally, ‘porous bone’. It is a condition in which your bones gradually become more fragile, making them more prone to breaking, even after a minor fall. It is more common in women, particularly after the menopause, when the ovaries stop producing the hormone oestrogen, which is a substance involved in keeping the bones strong. Women who have had an early menopause (before age 45) or a hysterectomy with removal of one or both ovaries are at greater risk. A poor diet, deficient in calcium or vitamin D also increases the risk, as does lack of exercise during childhood and early adulthood, when the bones are still growing. People with inflammatory arthritis, especially if they have used corticosteroids over a long period, also have an increased risk. Other risk factors are heavy smoking and excessive alcohol consumtion. Osteoporosis can also be hereditary.

If osteoporosis is suspected a bone density scan (DXA) can be performed to check the porosity of your bones. Several treatments are available to help slow down the loss of bone and reduce the risk of fractures, the most common of which are drugs called bisphosphonates. Other treatments include hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and teriparatide, a daily injection. Some treatments are available in the form of patches applied to the skin. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or are considered to be at high risk of developing this, our osteoporosis nurse specialist will be able to explain the condition and its treatment in more detail.

More information from the National Osteoporosis Society