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Osteoporosis Symptoms: What are the Signs You Should Watch out for

Osteoporosis Symptoms: What are the Signs You Should Watch out for

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by bone loss that occurs over time. It typically starts at the age of 30 and is more common among women, especially during menopause. While osteoporosis is not life-threatening, it is said to be a serious and “silent disease,” because osteoporosis symptoms are not readily perceivable until you get a fractured bone—usually in the hip, spine, or wrist.

Curious to know what you should be looking out for if you think you have this disease? Read on to find out about the four key osteoporosis symptoms, as well as ways you can improve and manage this condition.

Osteoporosis: All You Need to Know

Four Key Osteoporosis Symptoms

What are some of the common signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

Fractures from minor injuries

Your body is in a continuous process of breaking down bone tissue and creating new ones. However, as you get older, your body begins to absorb less nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium that promote bone density. This causes bone tissue regeneration to slow down, resulting in the weakening of your bones.

If you observe that you easily sustain fractures from minor falls or accidents that particularly affect the hip, spine, or wrist, it could be because your bones have started to become fragile. Increasing your intake of bone-enhancing nutrients may help strengthen your bones.

Backaches

Weak bones can lead to back pains, which is an osteoporosis symptom that’s often overlooked as it can be caused by many other factors. These can feel dull, or nagging (mild discomfort), or sharp; aggravated by movement; relieved by lying down, etc.

Although backaches are fairly common, a painful spine due to decreased bone density should be addressed immediately before it becomes worse and leads to an abnormal curvature of your vertebrae or backbone.

This deformity could impair your posture and increase your risk for back injuries, so be sure to see a doctor for any discomfort that’s out of the ordinary.

Deformed Spine

When you have osteoporosis, chances are your posture will eventually suffer from fragile vertebrae accompanied by back pain.

A disorder called Kyphosis is the forward-rounding of the spine that causes a hump-like curvature. This normally results from weakened or damaged vertebrae. Hyperkyphosis—the more severe form of Kyphosis—may involve fractured bones in the spinal column. This could cause breathing difficulty as it puts pressure on your lungs.

Practicing proper posture could help counter the effects of osteoporosis on your vertebrae. Doctors recommend that you should always stand tall, sit up straight, and avoid slouching.

Considerable Decrease in Height

As your spine begins to curve forward, you may also notice your body’s vertical length slowly decreasing. While slightly shrinking is normal as you get older, significant loss of height may be an osteoporosis symptom, which is most likely the result of fractured vertebrae caused by weak bones.

Aside from developing good posture, physical activities like moderate exercises and stretching can improve your form and prevent your spine from curving forward. Thereby, you can reduce your risk of height loss.

Chronic Back Pain: When to See a Doctor

What to do

To help prevent, manage or reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis it is advisable to:

  • Load up on foods containing nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium that aid in building strong bones.
  • Improve your posture by standing tall and sitting up straight.
  • Exercise regularly and adopt an active lifestyle to strengthen your bones and the muscles that surround them. In particular, load-bearing exercises can be very helpful in strengthening bones.
  • Visit your doctor if you experience any unusual pain in your pelvic, spinal or carpal region.

Key Takeaways

Osteoporosis symptoms are barely noticeable. More often than not, people will only realize that they have this “silent disease” when they have already broken their hip, spine, or wrist.

If you suspect that you have osteoporosis, be conscious of the four key symptoms. These include weak bones, backaches, a deformed spine, a considerable decrease in height, or a combination of these symptoms.

Learn more about Osteoporosis here.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Osteoporosis, https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/condition/osteoporosis, Accessed January 31, 2021

Osteoporosis: Symptoms and Causes, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968, Accessed January 31, 2021

What is Osteoporosis, https://www.osteoporosis.org.au/what-it, Accessed January 31, 2021

Osteoporosis symptoms, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/osteoporosis#symptoms, Accessed January 31, 2021

Osteoporosis, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoporosis, Accessed January 31, 2021

 

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Written by Kristel Lagorza Updated Jun 14
Medically reviewed by January Velasco, M.D.