It’s often referred to as “the silent disease” for its ability to creep up on people over the course of several years. And yet, despite the fact that osteoporosis poses a risk to many of us, awareness isn’t as forthright as it perhaps should be.
Usually, a sufferer of osteoporosis doesn’t notice any symptoms until the disease is actually diagnosed. By that point, it can be in its advanced stages and therefore lead to pains and problems with bones that can change a person’s life forever.
What that in mind, I thought I’d share some information on osteoporosis, including the body’s warning signs and how you can prevent the disease from developing. Read the article below and share with your friends so that they can improve their knowledge too.
What is osteoporosis?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, osteoporosis occurs when the body loses more bone tissue than it can properly replace. When bone mass decreases, the skeleton becomes weak and brittle, resulting in the potential for severe fractures to increase.
Bone fractures as a result of the disease are most common in the wrists, hips, vertebrae and upper arms – although it can affect the entire skeleton.
Women over 50 years of age and men over 70 years of age are at greater risk of developing osteporosios. It’s most common in women who have reduced levels of oestrogen by the time they reach menopause.
Other factors that can put you at increased risk are smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, spending too much time immobile or prolonged use of cortisone injections.
Below, we list four warning signs that your bone mass may have decreased, thereby putting you at risk.
1. Easily fractured bones
Because of its ‘silent’ nature, osteoporosis can commonly be detected purely by chance, often after one has suffered a broken arm or leg. If you acquire a fracture from a daily incident that shouldn’t normally be overly harmful, such as accidentally walking into a table or falling over from a standing position, it could be a sign.
2. Reduced body height
Seriously. It’s important to pay attention to your height in this respect. If multiple vertebrae are squeezed together – a result of osteoporosis – the spine can change shape and shorten. If you lose an inch and a half or more during a year, it could be a sign of osteoporosis and you may want to get checked.
3. Stooped posture
In the same way that osteoporosis can lead to shortened height, it can manifest itself in you having a stooped or hunched-over posture.
4. Sudden or intense back pain
Back pain can, of course, be caused by a number of things. However, if you experience sudden back pain that is made worse by simply standing or walking, it could be a sign of a small fracture in your spine caused by osteoporosis. If this is the case it can also be more difficult to bend forward, lift things up or twist your body.
How to prevent it
Osteoporosis is called the “silent disease” because it’s difficult to detect and can worsen over a number of years. That doesn’t mean it can’t be prevented.
By taking good care of your skeleton over the course of your life, you can reduce the risk. Basic exercise including walking, running or playing sports, can help greatly with this.
It’s also important to have a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Dairy products, broccoli, peas, beans and spinach are all good for these things.
If you’re concerned you might have osteoporosis, or you think a friend might based on the symptoms, it’s always better to consult a doctor or medical professional.
To prevent pain and major difficulty in the future, it’s vitally important to detect and treat the disease while it’s in its early stages. Hopefully this article can help raise awareness!