Osteoporosis, a disease that reduces the quality and the density of bone, causes the bones to become weak and brittle. The bone density is so severe that even mild falls or stresses to the body, such as coughing, may cause a fracture. The most common osteoporosis related fractures occur in the wrist, spine or hip. Your bones are living tissue that is continuously being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis happens when the development of new bone isn’t able to keep up with the removal of old bone. The loss of bone happens progressively and silently, so there may not be any symptoms until a fracture occurs.
What happens as osteoporosis worsens?
When osteoporosis goes untreated, the complications, especially in older adults can be extremely serious. Although fractures and breaks most generally occur in the spine, wrist or hips, other bones can also break. Some of the most serious consequences of osteoporosis may include:
- Limited mobility, which may lead to feelings of depression or isolation
- Decreased quality of life as a result of difficulties in carrying out daily living activities
- Vertebral fractures, which are fractures of the spine. These types of fractures can be extremely painful and even slight activities may cause a vertebral collapse
- Hip fractures can significantly impact the quality of life and may also lead to severe complications, such as a blood clot or pneumonia
- Spinal deformity, which may cause chronic pain and curving of the spine can lead to isolation, depression and decrease in daily activities
What are some symptoms I should look out for if I'm concerned about my risk?
There are generally no symptoms of in the early stages of bone loss. However, once osteoporosis has weakened your bones, you may experience signs and symptoms that include:
- Back pain
- Decrease in height
- Stooped posture
- Bone fractures that occur more easily than expected
Who is at risk for osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis can affect both women and men of all races, but Asian and white women, especially post-menopausal women have the greatest risk. Worldwide, about 1 in every 3 women and 1 in 5 men that is fifty years of age and over at a risk of experiencing an osteoporosis related fracture. The risk of an osteoporosis fracture increases with age in both men and women.
Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have:
- Low calcium intake
- Gastrointestinal surgery
There are several risk factors that may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, such as your age (over age 40), your sex (females), family history and body frame size.
What should I do if I am concerned about my risk?
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis. Thanks to modern medicine and natural health changes, it is a treatable condition and with the combination of healthy lifestyle changes and the appropriate medical treatment, it is possible to avoid many fracture risks. Healthy nutrition and regular exercise are critical for maintaining healthy bone density throughout your life. Making sure your diet consists of protein, calcium and vitamin D along with the appropriate exercise will help to significantly reduce your risks of developing osteoporosis.
If you believe you are at risk, or if your primary doctor has identified you as at-risk, obtain a referral from your doctor and contact Arthritis Center of Lexington today!