Osteoporosis is a disease in which osseins become fragile. It causes loss of bone and bone tissue and is more common in people over 65 years of age, especially in women. Moreover, osteoporosis is almost always asymptomatic. Most people do not know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture, the most common symptom of the disease.
Because of the loss of bone density in osteoporosis, you may be surprised to learn that even the slightest fall or blow can cause your bones to break. It could be a small fracture in your arm or a life-threatening fracture in your spine.
According to a 2016 study conducted at East Virginia Medical School, fractures caused by osteoporosis require more hospitalizations and are more expensive than other fractures. It is important to be aware of osteoporosis and take preventive measures as you age. Osteoporosis is something you don’t feel often, but you can always feel it if you suffer an unexpected fracture.
After age 50, it’s time to talk to your doctor about your risk factors for osteoporosis. A dietary supplement containing calcium may be recommended.
Women over 65 and men over 70 should have annual checkups. Also, everyone over the age of 50 who has ever had a bone fracture should undergo periodic testing for osteoporosis.
In addition to age, lifestyle can also affect osteoporosis. Medications such as steroids, injectable contraceptives, and some cancer treatments can also increase the risk. Basic medications, such as those for depression and heartburn, can also increase the risk of osteoporosis, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking them.
Talk to your doctor about this. Your doctor may recommend additional supplements to support bone health and counteract the effects of the medications you take.
Loss of height and forward lean often accompany aging and are signs of osteoporosis. The most noticeable changes are height loss of five centimeters or more and a new curvature of the spine.
These changes mean that osteoporosis is affecting your spine; if you are over 50, have your height measured at every physical exam.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is necessary for ossein health because it helps the body receive calcium. New research also points to the importance of vitamin D in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may experience bone pain and muscle weakness, but in most cases the symptoms are mild.
Vitamin D is produced in the body by exposure to sunlight, so people living in the winter or the northern hemisphere are often deficient. Vitamin D is found in animal products such as egg yolks, fish, fish oil, fortified milk, and beef liver. If you are a vegetarian, you are at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Joint and muscle pain
Osteoporosis progresses silently, so you will not feel pain before the disease progresses. However, a side effect of osteoporosis can be discomfort. Stress fractures and small cracks in the bone can occur in everyday life, which can cause pain.
As height shortens and the vertebrae become compressed and close together, lower back pain may be experienced. Also, small fractures in the ribs can cause nerves to press on them. Another sign of osteoporosis is muscle weakness due to the weakening of the ligaments between the bones that support the muscles. This can be noted by your inability to get up from a chair without pushing with your arms.
Although not necessarily a sign of osteoporosis, pain with aging is something you want to avoid. Though, it’s a great idea to communicate with your doctor. In a study of more than 47,000 women who suffered a fracture, only one in five knew beforehand that they had osteoporosis. Surprisingly few women took follow-up measures to prevent fractures.
To reduce the risk of osteoporosis, regardless of age, increase calcium and vitamin D intake, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and exercise regularly with weight. The most effective way is to make these behaviors a habit in your 30s. But even if you’re past 30, it’s not too late to start. It’s up to you to age comfortably.