Osteomyelitis – An Overview

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. It is  very rare but serious disease. Bones can be infected in a number of ways:

  • Infection in one part of the body may spread through the bloodstream into the bone.
  • Open fracture/surgery may expose the bone to infection.

In many cases, a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria, causes Osteomyelitis.  Certain chronic conditions like diabetes may increase your risk for Osteomyelitis. This disease is such rare that only 2 out of 10,000 may get this disease. People with lesser immunity can be severely affected. Also people who has AIDS, diabetes, sickle cell disease, osteoporosis, people on steroids etc. Bone surgery, including hip and knee replacements, also increase the chance of bone infection.

Acute Osteomyelitis develops rapidly over a period of seven to 10 days normally. Fever, irritability, fatigue, nausea, redness and tenderness in the area of infection and lesser range of motion are few of the symptoms which may be seen in an individual.

Diagnosis –

Medical history plays vital role in diagnosis. Any current disease, recent accident, operations should be shared with the doctor.  Blood tests, Biopsy, X-Ray can be done to identify the disease.

Treatment –

Treatment depends on the type of Osteomyelitis one has.

  • Acute Osteomyelitis –

In this type infection spreads within 2 weeks. The pain can be extreme, and the condition maybe  life-threatening. A course of antibiotics or antifungal medicine is normally effective . Possible side effects from antibiotics include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. In some cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

  • Sub-acute Osteomyelitis –

Infection develops within one or two months. Treatment depends on severity, and whether there is any bone damage. Treatment depends on the bone damage.

  • Chronic Osteomyelitis –

In chronic osteomyelitis, infection starts after 2 months after an injury. Patients usually need both antibiotics and surgery to repair any bone damage.

Prevention –

Well balanced diet has to be followed. Smoking gradually weakens lung immunity, hence may overall ditoriate immunity. Avoid excessive regular alcohol consumption as this raises the risk of hypertension, , and high cholesterol and may end up with diabetes. People who are prone to infections should be especially careful to avoid cuts and scrapes. Any cuts or scrapes should be cleaned at once, and a clean dressing put over it.