Osteoporosis is a thinned and weakened bone condition that commonly develops in older women. When bones are in this fragile condition, they break more easily. With this condition any bone can be affected, but the hip, spine, and wrist are the bones most often broken.
Throughout your life, your bones are continuously breaking down and being replaced. Around age 30, your bone mass stops increasing, and as you age, more bone is broken down than replaced. This imbalance causes the osteoporosis condition.
In most women, the rate of bone loss increases for several years after menopause, then slows down again. In men, this overall bone loss occurs more slowly.
You may not know that you have osteoporosis until a circumstance causes a bone to break or fracture that would not normally do so. Some causes and risk factors include:
- getting older
- family history
- low body weight
- overall poor diet
- too little calcium
- physical inactivity
- being white or Asian
- osteopenia ~ low bone mass
- not getting enough vitamin D
Taking certain medications may also reduce your bone density, such as:
- some cancer drugs
- some anti seizure drugs
- some endometriosis treatment drugs
- too much thyroid hormone for underactive thyroid
- glucocorticoids ~ commonly used to control arthritis & asthma
Osteoporosis is a silent condition, but these warning symptoms may indicate its presence:
- any fracture may signal bones are weaker than ideal
- curved spine, stooped posture, back pain and fatigue
- height loss of one inch plus may be the result of spine fractures due to osteoporosis
- several fractures before age 45 may indicate that osteoporosis has already developed
On the bight side, many osteoporosis caused fractures can be prevented and/or treated. What you can do in prevention of further bone loss is by committing to healthier lifestyle:
- exercise regularly
- consuming a healthy diet
- use treatment medication/drugs when necessary
The best way to check your bone health is by taking periodical bone density tests to monitor your changes over time.