Osteoporosis symptoms do not occur when you first develop the disease. For this reason, it is called the “silent epidemic.” It sneaks up on you until one day you have a fracture or broken bone. But over time, you will begin to see various osteoporosis symptoms. These include:
Bone fracture and breaks
Eight million American women and 2 million American men have the condition. As many as 50 percent of women will develop the disease in their lifetimes. Caucasians and Asians are more likely to develop Osteoporosis than people of other races, but it strikes everyone. Post menopausal women are the ones most at risk.
Osteoporosis is caused when bone mass decreases. This results in the bones to be more susceptible to fracture. Bone is constantly being broken down and reabsorbed by cells which are osteoclasts, and then rebuilt by other cells called osteoblasts. As you age, more bone is reabsorbed than replaced.
One of the first osteoporosis symptoms is back pain. Many patients ignore this or confuse it with the onset of arthritis. But, if you are experiencing back pain, ask your doctor whether a bone density scan is warranted.
You will often see people with osteoporosis who have a loss of height or slumped posture. Some people with osteoporosis symptoms lose height and become stooped with a bent back which is called a dowager’s hump. This occurs because the bones of the spine, the vertebrae, gradually collapse within themselves and become compressed.
When this happens, it is called a compression or crush fracture. People with osteoporosis may also break other bones, particularly the hip and wrist. Hip and wrist fractures often happen when a person with osteoporosis falls. A broken hip is especially serious because it can lead to loss of independence. It can also lead to loss of function and to serious and even life-threatening problems.
Compression fractures in the spine can cause severe back pain. This is generally because of crush fractures.
Too often osteoporosis becomes apparent in dramatic fashion: a bone breaks. This can include vertebra, hip, forearm, or any bony site. These fractures aren’t the result of jumping off a building; they follow relatively minor trauma such as bending over, lifting, jumping, or falling from the standing position.
However, it should be noted that all broken bones in people with osteoporosis are serious. That is because bones that are less dense tend to heal slowly and sometimes incompletely. Additionally, if osteoporosis patients break one bone, they tend to break other bones.
If you suspect that you have osteoporosis symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. While there is no cure, there are treatments including diet changes, supplements, exercise, and medications.
Your doctor will probably want to get a bone density scan. Even if you do not have full blown osteoporosis, this will give you a baseline for monitoring the condition in the future.
Don’t wait. Get your osteoporosis symptoms checked out right away.