Skeletal System Diseases
Our skeletal system acts as the foundation that supports our whole body. It also aids in our movement along with the muscles, and also as an encasing for vital organs. Most of our organs, including major ones like the brain, heart and lungs are encased and protected by the skull and ribs respectively. Some bones also produce blood cells for the body.
To have an idea how strong and sturdy bones really are, did you know that the longest bone in our body, the thigh bone or Femur, is easily capable of lifting or supporting 30 times its own volume and weight?
But unfortunately, our skeletal system, just like any other system in a human’s body, is not impervious to diseases or illnesses, and can suffer from various ailments too. Skeletal system diseases, depending on the severity, can render the patient immobile, affect posture and general well-being.
In the section below, we will feature some of the most common skeletal system diseases that can afflict a person, and the most common course of treatments for them.
Perhaps the skeletal system disease most familiar to the public, Osteoporosis is the disease that causes the bones to be very brittle. “Osteo” means bone in Greek, and “poros” means many passages – passages that make the bone porous in state.
A person afflicted with Osteoporosis is extremely prone to injury, especially fractures. However, a diet that is sufficient in Calcium and Vitamin D can prevent this debilitating disease combined with some exercise specifically weight-training (even light weight-training, studies show can help strengthen bones and muscle) can ward-off this condition.
But if treatment is needed, usually the patient is advised to take extra precautions as possible to avoid mishaps, and medicines that have high levels of Calcium usually biposphonates along with Vitamin D are prescribed.
2. Bone Cancer
The dreaded big C can also afflict the bones. A very serious skeletal system disorder, it can affect anyone at any age, but usually teenagers and kids are the most at risk.
Bonce cancer is categorized in two categories. Primary bone cancer means the cancer generated in the bone itself, or secondary, which means that the cancer spread from other parts of the body, and is more commonplace of the two.
Doctors and scientists are unsure of the main cause of bone cancer, but most of them believe that people with hereditary conditions like Multiple exostoses, Li-Fraumeni syndrome and hereditary retinoblastoma predisposes them more to bone cancer.
There are many possible signs of bone cancer but dull pain is one very common symptom, and it usually ocurs in the long bones of the body like the arms and legs. Other possible signals include inflammaion of the joints and easily fractured bones due to feebleness.
Radiation therapy is the main treatment for bone cancer, but there has been some controversy over this as some doctors think there is a strong possibility that the radiation therapy used in childhood will cause bone cancer later.
However, most doctors are unified in agreement that radiation therapy fars outweighs the risk when unergoing such procedure to treat this deadly disease.
Arthritis is a painful skeletal system disease, specifically of the joints that is characterized by pain ranging from mild to severe (especially in cold weather), stiffness and swelling.
Arthritis can hamper movement because of the tenderness and usually attacks elderly people, but anyone from any age can develop thisdisease.
Fortunately, arthritis can be prevented through regular exercise and proper diet – a healthy lifestyle in other words. But if the condition does not improve on a long period of time even with medication and only gets worse, sometimes an operation is warranted to replace the joints.
Sometimes bacteria that causes infection can also attack the bones, and this skeletal system disease is called Osteomyelitis. When youngsters are infected, the bones of the knees, wrists, shoulders and hips are the most common target of the bacteria, but infection can also happen at the end of the long bones like arms and legs. In adults and elderly folks, the feet and the spine are the most common targets.
Antibiotics are the usual course of treatment for Osteomyelitis, and are administered intravenously. Once the patient begins to feel better though, the doctor can switch them to tablets.
Rickets, one of the skeletal system diseases caused by a deficient mineral or vitamin, is mainly seen in children. It is a condition that is directly caused by the deficiency of the Vitamin D required for the absorption of calcium and other minerals to maintain bone density and strength.
In Rickets, the bones become very bendable, and their legs are usually bent when standing up instead of being straight. A good amount of sunshine combined with foods that are rich in Calcium, Magnesium and Phosporus usually solves the problem because our skin produces Vitamin D once the sunlight hits our skin.