MOST serious ailments do not occur overnight. The symptoms develop gradually for a certain period of time while some are asymptomatic.
Osteoporosis is one. This is a condition in which bones become brittle. Most people don’t realize that they have it until they experience the most common effect of the disease – fracture.
Sudden loss of balance and minor fall are the initial signs or symptoms of osteoporosis.
Because there has been a loss of bone density with osteoporosis, the break could be a minor one in your arm, or it could occur in your spine and would change your life forever.
Health experts said osteoporosis is something that is important to be aware of as you age, so that you can take steps to prevent it. Remember, it is not something that you’ll feel happening, but you will sure feel that unexpected fracture.
Osteoporosis is also nearly asymptomatic. Early warning signs should never be ignored. Here are some health information you should know that would help you detect if osteoporosis is developing.
* Fracture. The first sign that you might have osteoporosis is often a fracture. In fact, fracture is the most common early symptom. When the bones have thinned and become brittle, even mild impact will cause a fracture.
And sometimes when the impact that caused the injury was so minor, people don’t realize that they have broken a bone until ongoing pain is excruciating that sends them to the doctor.
Signs that you have experienced a fragility-related fracture include pain and swelling immediately after an impact or fall. If it appears that an area of your body is out of alignment, that’s another sign.
If you feel pain, especially in your back, that persists for several weeks it may also indicate a fracture, even if you can’t think back to a specific event that caused it.
* Loss of height. Loss of height (“lumiliit”) and a stooped posture often come along with age, and they can signal osteoporosis. Noteworthy changes include a loss of two or more inches of height or a new curvature in the spine.
These changes can mean that osteoporosis has affected your spine. Once you have reached age 50, ask for a height measurement at every wellness checkup.
As you begin to lose height and your vertebrae compress closer together, you will likely experience soreness in your back. And if a small fracture occurs in the ribs, it may press a nerve against a rib.
* Medications. There are certain lifestyle factors that can influence osteoporosis. Medications like steroids, injectable contraceptives, and some cancer treatments also increase the risk. Basic medicines for depression or heartburn may also up your risk of osteoporosis, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking them.
You may ask your doctor for an additional supplement to support your bone health or change some of your medication.
* Age. Once you reach age 50, it’s time to start talking to your doctor about risk factors for osteoporosis. Dietary supplementation, including more calcium, may be recommended.
Any person over the age of 50 who has had a fracture needs to be tested routinely for osteoporosis.
* Vitamin deficiency. Vitamin D is critical to bone health because it helps the body to absorb calcium. Several studies showed that vitamin D helps prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive impairment. If you have a deficiency, you might experience bone pain or muscle weakness, but these symptoms are often mild.
Vitamin D synthesizes in the body when your skin is exposed to sun. Foods loaded with of vitamin D are mostly animal based, including egg yolks, fish and fish oils, fortified milk, and beef liver. But if you’re a vegetarian, the risk of vitamin D deficiency is higher.
* Joints or muscle pains. Osteoporosis develops slowly and silently, so you will probably not experience pain before the disease has advanced. Still, there are some side effects of osteoporosis that can cause discomfort. Stress fractures and small cracks in the bone can occur in the course of daily life, and these may cause an achy feeling.
Muscle weakness due to loosened connections with the bones that support them. You may notice this as difficulty getting up from a chair without a push with your arms.
Aches and pains are expected as you age, and not necessarily a sign of osteoporosis. But it’s still a good idea to talk about it with your doctor. In a study of over 47,000 women with a fragility fracture, only one in five knew that they had osteoporosis beforehand. And surprisingly, very few of the women went on to take follow-up steps to prevent further fractures.
Steps that you can take right now to lower the risk of osteoporosis, no matter your age, is to boost your intake of calcium and vitamin D, avoid smoking and excessive drinking, and lose weight.