Osteoporosis: Know the Signs and Symptoms
The structure of a body is very impressive. The strength and structural integrity of bone is incredible and the ability for it to keep everything upright and moving around.
Unfortunately our bones are not impregnable. They are susceptible to damage just like any other part of our body.
One of the most unfortunate things that can happen to bones is they fall to osteoporosis. This disease eats away at both the density and the quality of a person’s bones. They become fragile and porous instead of strong and solid.
One of the scariest things about osteoporosis is that the symptoms are often very quiet. Then someone fractures a limb and finds out the truth. Osteoporosis eats away at the bones faster than they can replenish themselves and people who live with it have to be very careful to try to avoid potential injury and fractures.
There are a variety of sources that can cause osteoporosis. The most common one however is hormone deficiencies. These tend to be related specifically to the gender of the person involved. For example, women with a lack of estrogen are prone to osteoporosis. Since menopause comes with much lower levels of estrogen, women having gone through that are more likely to get osteoporosis.
There are also other factors and that can include vitamin and mineral deficiencies (specifically Vitamin D and calcium) or lack of exercise that forces the bones to bear weight. People who only do aquatic exercises for example.
Many people may find that they have lower bone density than others. Despite this, they do not have full osteoporosis. This condition is referred to as Osteopenia and will often lead to someone developing osteoporosis. People’s bones fracture easily when they suffer from Osteopenia and their posture becomes stooped.
It’s important to note that symptoms do not tend to manifest during the early stages of osteoporosis. This is unfortunate, but can be worked around. Here are some of the symptoms to look for during the mid and late stages of osteoporosis:
- Dull Muscle and Bone Pain - this occurs most commonly in the neck and the lower back, but can happen elsewhere.
- Slight Height Loss
- Sharp Muscle and Bone Pains - These pains can come on suddenly and feel like stabbing pains out of nowhere. These pains can last for a week, or extend for multiple months.
- Stooped Posture - This is due to the spinal fractures and compressions that occur during the osteoporosis process.
Bone Density Test
The main way to determine if someone has osteoporosis is through what’s called a bone density test. In the past, it could only be diagnosed after unexpectedly easily broken bones. However now, those who age will often undergo the test to determine if it has begun.
Bone density tests require X-rays. From these X-rays, they can determine the amount of calcium and bone material in each segment of bone. This way they can determine if osteoporosis has struck. Usually this is done to the spine, forearm or hip. All of these are important bones and often suffer from osteoporosis.
Unfortunately there are no cures for osteoporosis at this time. This means that treatment has to be around minimizing the advancement of the disease and in reducing the symptoms and bone brittleness.
Osteoporosis treatment is almost entirely through the use of medications. These medications have one goal, and that’s to encourage bone growth. If they can reach the point where bone growth outstrips bone degeneration, then they can slowly reknit themselves and regain strength. These medications are often high in hormones that were otherwise deficient and potentially caused the problem in the first place.
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