Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to be come brittle and weak. Learn the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become weak and brittle over time. The brittle bones caused by osteoporosis can become so weak that even mere activities such as bending over can cause fractures. Vitamin D deficiency and low levels of calcium are often responsible for weak brittle bones. Osteoporosis is more prevalent among female patients. Osteoporosis is also a very common bone disease, so common that about 20 percent of American women who are 50 years old or older have it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the body is constantly creating new bone mass to replace old bone mass. When a person is young, more old bone mass is replaced by new bone mass in a process called bone turnover, causing a net gain in bone mass. As a person ages, this process slows down, causing the old bone mass to be replaced at a slower rate.
As a person grows older, the body produces less new bone mass. The likelihood of patients developing osteoporosis depends on how strong their bones are during times of peak bone density, which are usually during the 20s and early 30s. Fortunately, it is never too late to get treatment for osteoporosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
During the preliminary stages of the bone disease, patients usually do not feel any symptoms. However as the bones become significantly weakened by the disease, the symptoms will start to appear. When osteoporosis is advanced, patients will likely notice symptoms of bone pain, back pain, height loss, neck pain, stooped posture, and bone fractures.
Since the symptoms are negligible during the early stages of osteoporosis, getting an early diagnosis can be inconvenient. Thus, Mayo Clinic recommends getting a bone density test if the patient is between 60 (female) to 70 (male) years old.
Osteoporosis Treatment and Prevention
The efficacy of the treatment depends on the health of the patient and the stage of the disease. Osteoporosis treatment involves relieving the pain, reducing bone loss, and using medicines that will help improve bone conditions. Biphosphonates are drugs usually used to treat osteoporosis. Calcitonin helps reduce bone loss and alleviate bone pain.
Physical therapy treatments involves performing exercises to improve body posture and bone strength. Medline Plus recommends patients who have Osteoporosis to perform regular exercises to decrease the chance of bone fracture. It is also important eat foods with high calcium and vitamin D.
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent osteoporosis. Since peak bone mass is in the 20s to early 30s, it is recommended for young patients to eat foods (cheese, milk, yogurt, fish, etc) rich in calcium and vitamin D during that time period. This will lower the chances of getting osteoporosis at an older age. It is never too late to prevent osteoporosis, but it is preferable to take early actions.