Andrew R. Miller
Lehigh Carbon Community College
ABSTRACT Osteoporosis is a very common disease affecting millions of Americans each year, mostly women. Osteoporosis is both preventable and treatable with the help of different interventions and medications. Osteoporosis is a lack of bone mineral density. Nurses should know about the disease and be familiar with interventions to prevent osteoporosis and treat patients who do have the bone disease. Bisphosphonates are the most common medication treatment. These drugs work by reducing bone resorption in the natural bone turn over process. Lifestyle is also an important aspect of prevention and treatment of the disease. Alcohol and tobacco should be avoided and a healthy diet and exercise should be incorporated into a person’s lifestyle.
INTRODUCTION We were charged with the task of writing about one of the threads of our college’s, Lehigh Carbon Community College, nursing program. Those threads are cultural/spiritual, the nursing process, teaching/learning, ethical/legal, therapeutic communication and socialization to the role of a professional nurse. We could then specify further on a specific category, illness, concept, etc. I chose teaching/learning because the vast diagnosis and conditions a nurse can be confronted with is endless. As many of our professors say, school for nurses never end. I find this to be true as well and think it’s a good idea for nurses to learn about conditions outside of work and to further their education as much as possible. A term that everyone has heard of is osteoporosis. But how many know what it is? What causes it? Is it treatable? This is why I chose the teaching and learning of osteoporosis. Prior to my research, I had a vague knowledge base on osteoporosis. I knew it was a fairly common disease related to the lack of bone density. I also knew, from prior knowledge, it is an underlying cause in most fractures of the elderly patient, and that healthcare facilities take great precautions in reducing falls during and after stays, but my knowledge ended here. With such a common disease that can lead to injuries, it should be a nurse’s obligation to be competent on the subject. Not to do so would be a neglect of patient’s needs. A personal encounter also led me to pursue the topic of osteoporosis. My grandmother at 84 years of age had a simple fall in her home. Due to her osteoporosis, which was undiscovered at this time, she dealt with a fracture and a three week stay in the hospital. All of the factors above made this topic important for me to learn about.
DEFINITION Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease in which there is an increased fracture risk due to reduced bone mineral density (BMD), 2.5 standard deviations below the adult peak mean to be precise (Elliot, 2011, p. 30). Affecting over 10 million Americans each year, it is a fairly common disease mostly affecting people over the age of 50 (Nguyen and Wang, 2012, p. 1). An overwhelming number of those 10 million are women, 8 million to be specific (Seabolt, 2007). A criterion, as mentioned before, is to be 2.5 standard deviations below the average. Severe osteoporosis is deviations even less than that. An intermediate between osteoporosis and normal bone density is osteopenia, which is the risk of osteoporosis or mild bone loss (Seabolt, 2007). Bone loss is a normal process that occurs with aging in both men and women, (Elliot, 2011). Osteoporosis, however, is the result of untreated bone loss (Clarke and Khosla, 2010). Bone loss is actually present in all ages in the term of bone turnover. This is classified as osteoporosis when it exceeds the new bone formation, (Whitaker, 2012).
RISK FACTORS AND SCREENING The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggests that women over the age of 65 or younger women with risk factors be