Our body is home to all of our vital organs, and our bones are the pillars of our body, protecting all of the organs within their robust cage. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak, brittle, and hollow from the inside. Loss of bone mass causes deterioration of bone tissue, which can lead to breakdown and fracture. It is often called a “silent disease” because it progresses without noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs. In order to maintain bone health as we age, it is crucial to Unveiling the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
A Comprehensive Guide about Sign and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), osteoporosis affects 30% of postmenopausal women. According to reports, 61 million individuals in India have osteoporosis, and out of these, 80 percent are women.
Osteoporosis is primarily caused by an imbalance between new bone formation and old bone resorption.
- Advancing age – As we age, our bodies may fail to produce enough new bone to replace the bone that is naturally being broken down.
- Females especially post-menopausal women
- Family history of the disease
- Low body weight
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
Other factors that can contribute to osteoporosis include
- Hormonal changes (such as menopause in women)
- Nutritional deficiencies (especially calcium and vitamin D)
- Certain Medications (e.g., glucocorticoids), and
- Certain medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease)
Such several factors increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Early Warning Signs of Osteoporosis to Watch Out For
- Receding Gums – If the bone in your jaw gets weaker, your teeth may become loose. Ask your dentist to check for jaw bone loss.
- Strength of the nails – One of the bone health indicators is the strength of the nails. Brittle and weak nails indicate poor bone health.
Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis You Shouldn’t Ignore
In the early stages, osteoporosis often does not show any noticeable signs or symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the following signs and symptoms may occur:
- Back pain: Osteoporosis damages the spinal cord and causes vertebral compression or collapse, as well as fractures. As the crushed vertebrae may pinch nerves radiating from the spinal cord, these fractures can be extremely painful. The pain may be sharp or dull and can worsen with movement or prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Refer – How to get, back pain relief naturally?
- Loss of height: Osteoporosis can cause a gradual loss of height over time. This is often due to compression fractures in the spine, which can result in a stooped or hunched posture known as kyphosis.
- Fractures: Fragile and weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures. Common sites of fractures associated with osteoporosis include the spine, hip, wrist, and ribs. Fractures may occur due to minor trauma, such as a fall or even a cough or sneeze.
- Poor posture: Osteoporosis can lead to a stooped posture and rounded shoulders due to vertebral compression fractures. This can affect overall balance and increase the risk of falls.
- Easy bone fractures: Osteoporotic bones are more fragile and prone to fractures. Even a minor fall or bump can result in a fracture, which may heal slowly or cause significant pain.
- Post-menopausal fractures: In the first five years following menopause, women are estimated to lose up to 10% of their bone mass on average. Osteoporosis affects one in two postmenopausal women, and the majority of them will fracture at any time in their lifetime.
It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to osteoporosis and can also occur due to other conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about your bone health, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and appropriate management.
Recognizing the Signs of Osteoporosis:
Osteoporosis weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. Fractures commonly occur in the spine, hips, wrists, and ribs. Fractures can cause severe pain, and disability, and even lead to long-term complications.
Diagnosis: Osteoporosis is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, bone density tests (usually dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan), and sometimes blood tests to rule out other causes.
Treatment and management: The goal of treatment is to prevent fractures, relieve pain, and slow down the progression of bone loss. Treatment options include lifestyle modifications (such as regular weight-bearing exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption), ensuring an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, and medications that help prevent bone loss or promote bone formation.
Prevention: Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence is crucial for preventing osteoporosis later in life. This can be achieved through a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise (particularly weight-bearing exercises like walking or lifting weights), and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
If you suspect you may have osteoporosis or have concerns about your bone health, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional who can evaluate your specific situation and provide appropriate advice and treatment options.