Aging affects your body in many ways including within your bones. Osteoporosis is a disorder commonly associated with age and characterized by low bone mass, or brittle bones.
Our bones are constantly regenerating - breaking down and building up. In osteoporosis, this balance is disrupted as the creation of new bone does not keep up with bone breakdown. This can cause decreased bone strength, increased fragility, and increased risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis may go unnoticed for some time as symptoms may not be evident until a fracture occurs. The most common fractures caused by osteoporosis involve the bones of the spine, hip, or forearm.
With proper treatment and moderate lifestyle changes, osteoporosis can easily be managed – and fractures can be avoided. Contact your physician if you suspect osteoporosis is present.
- Visual deformity of the bones such as stooping or hunching in the back
- Loss of height
- Bones that break easily
- Nutritional deficiencies - decreased calcium intake or eating disorders
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Small body habitus
- Genetic mutations affecting bone density
- Substance abuse including tobacco and alcohol
- Use of certain medications - notably chronic corticosteroid use, among others
- Underlying chronic medical conditions including but not limited to inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer, lupus, multiple myeloma, and rheumatoid arthritis
- The presence of a fragility fracture – fractures that occur spontaneously or with minor trauma that would not cause a fracture in a healthy bone
- DEXA scan, a specialized x-ray used for determining bone density
- Bloodwork to exclude other causes of low bone mass or to determine underlying cause of osteoporosis
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