Osteoporosis symptoms are usually hard to detect on the early stage and easier on the late stage.
Osteoporosis today is considered a silent disease and usually affects elderly women aged 50 and up. It is also considered as one of the most common bone disease. It is very hard to detect that sometimes it comes unnoticed until a bone breaks. Unlike most diseases, osteoporosis symptoms don’t appear as the disease does. You may not know that your bones are already becoming weak. Different tests may be utilized to check the bone status.
What Happens to the Bones?
Osteoporosis happens when the body isn’t able to form a new bone or when too much of the old bone is reabsorbed. The bones are primarily made up of calcium and protein. Phosphate and Calcium are two essential minerals for bone formation. Calcium is also important for most vital organs to function properly such as the heart and brain. When the body doesn’t have enough calcium for those vital organs, the body reabsorbs the calcium stored in the bones to maintain optimum blood calcium levels. If calcium intake is insufficient, the bones formation may be altered. This insufficient level of calcium results to the bones becoming weak and fragile making them prone to injury and fractures. Estrogen and testosterone levels failing (See: Low testosterone symptoms) may also be a factor in the occurrence of osteoporosis symptoms.
This change happens gradually over years. The person may have a lot fractures before knowing that the disease is already present. The disease is in its advanced stage and the bones are severely damaged by the time a fracture occurs.
What are the Osteoporosis Symptoms?
Osteoporosis symptoms may be undetected for decades because as mentioned earlier, it won’t show any symptoms until the bone fractures. Moreover, some fractures due to osteoporosis may remain undetected for years. Symptom often associated with fractures caused by osteoporosis is pain and depends on the fracture’s location.
A spinal or vertebra fracture causes severe pain radiating from the back to the sides. Recurrent spinal fractures may lead to chronic lower back pain, curving of the spine or kyphosis and loss of height. The breakdown of the spine causes a hunched-back appearance called a dowager hump which is commonly manifested by elderly women.
The bones in osteoporosis are very brittle that fractures may occur even in normal activities. Fractures may occur while bending, walking, or carrying heavy objects. Hip fractures (See: Hip pain) may result in a fall which is devastating. This type of fracture is called stress fracture or minimal trauma.
How is Osteoporosis Treated?
Treatment for osteoporosis symptoms mainly focuses on slowing down the progress or stopping the disease, if possible. Goal of treatment also includes preventing bone fractures, controlling pain, and increasing the bone density.
One cause of osteoporosis as mentioned earlier is due the drop of hormones especially in estrogen in women. In order to solve this problem, estrogen levels should be maintain to a normal level. The doctor may instruct the patient to take contraceptive pills. Contraceptive pills contain hormones such as estrogen which aids in the maintenance of optimum level of estrogen in the body.
Patients who had fracture due to osteoporosis should be referred to an orthopedic surgeon or bone specialist for further assessment and a more intense type of treatment. Some of these patients may be required to undergo surgery or a casts will be used until the bone is healed. Physical therapists may also be required to aid patient in exercising safely. For example, patients with vertebral fractures should avoid doing exercises which require them to bend over, doing sit-ups, or lifting heavy objects. Other specialists that help with the treatment of osteoporosis include endocrinologists, rheumatologists, internists, family physicians, generalists and many more.
How is Osteoporosis Prevented?
Osteoporosis symptoms can be very detrimental. No definite treatments currently exist for osteoporosis. The only and best way to eliminate the disease is through prevention. Regular exercise, diet modification, stopping unhealthy habits and preventing injury are some of the ways of preventing the disease.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of bone fractures. Exercise helps in strengthening and increases the flexibility of the bones and muscles therefore, decreasing the risk of future fractures. Exercises includes, weight-bearing exercises such as: dancing, jogging, walking, resistance exercises such as: stretch bands, weight machines and free weights and balance exercises such as: tai chi and yoga.
To avoid the occurrence of osteoporosis symptoms, diet should also be high in calcium especially in young adults. A young adult’s body doesn’t have problems with regards to calcium absorption compared to elderly people. They should have at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day as well as 800 – 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 for calcium absorption. Young adults should follow a diet that contains the right amount of calcium, protein and vitamin D to guarantee that the body has enough supply to maintain optimum bone status.
Other Musculoskeletal System Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnosis