Osteoporosis: Symptoms and Causes

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Osteoporosis develops when our bodies don’t construct new bones as quickly as they eliminate old bone. Bones become weak and brittle and are more likely to fracture or break.

Bones provide the framework for our bodies, and it’s necessary to maintain bone health for our bodies to continue to function properly and remain pain and injury-free, especially as we age.

In its earliest stages, osteoporosis often shows no symptoms.

Signs of osteoporosis:

  • Sloping shoulders
  • Curve in the back
  • Height loss
  • Back pain
  • Hunched posture
  • Protruding abdomen

It’s one of the most widespread problems of aging, striking more than half of all adults over age 50.

The fact is, bone loss that leads to osteoporosis frequently occurs with no any conspicuous symptoms, so by the time you have a fracture, feel pain, or develop curvature of the spine, osteoporosis may already be present. Although sometimes symptoms still emerge.

Find out how to identify signs of bone loss before osteoporosis symptoms appear.

Fracture

A fracture is one of the most general signs of fragile bones caused by osteoporosis. Fractures can occur with a fall or even a minor movement such as stepping off a curb. At some causes, osteoporosis fractures can even be triggered by a strong sneeze or cough.

Back or Neck Pain

Osteoporosis can cause compression fractures of the spine. These can be very painful because the collapsed vertebrae may pinch the nerves that radiate out from the spinal cord. The pain symptoms can range from minor tenderness to debilitating pain.

Loss of Height

The compression fractures in the spine can also cause a loss of height. This is one of the most noticeable symptoms of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, if your bones are small and thin to begin with, you have less bone to lose. People with small, delicate frames are likely to develop osteoporosis at a younger age. This doesn’t mean that heavy or big-boned people don’t get osteoporosis; just that people who are thin or small-boned don’t have as far to go before they’re at risk for fracture.

Stooped Posture

The compression of the vertebrae may also cause a slight curving of the upper back. A stooped back is known as kyphosis, or more commonly as dowager’s hump. Kyphosis can cause back and neck pain and even have an effect on breathing due to extra pressure on the airway.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis relies partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth.  What causes osteoporosis?

Smoking.

You can sure get loads of diseases when you regularly smoke. Experts don’t know exactly how smoking sabotages bones, but it’s apparent from numerous studies that it does. Smoking has a high statistical correlation with osteoporosis, so if you’ve been a smoker throughout your adult life, chances are high that you’ve compromised your bones. It’s never too late to quit. You can still harvest the health benefits of being a nonsmoker and give your body the chance to recuperate.

Drinking two or more alcoholic drinks a day.

Alcohol is a bone-weakener; it leaches calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from your bones. The more you drink, the more likely it is that it’s happening. Women are more vulnerable to this type of bone loss than men, perhaps because they’re more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol in general.

Being lactose intolerant or other reasons for not drinking milk.

Milk is one of the best bone-builders, and not just because of the calcium. Vitamin D, an important ingredient in fortified milk, is even more important.

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No matter how young or old you are, it’s never too early or too late to be concerned about thinning bones and to take steps to avoid it. The good news is that in many cases, thinning bones can be avoided through proper nutrition and regular exercise.

If you think you or your loved one may have osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about how to attain an accurate diagnosis, and about treatment options that can improve both your bone health and your quality of life.

By knowing your symptoms, risk factors and getting early screenings and diagnosis, you will be taking important steps toward managing your osteoporosis risk, especially being able to get early treatment.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/basics/risk-factors/con-20019924

http://www.webmd.boots.com/osteoporosis/guide/osteopenia-early-signs-of-bone-loss

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