Osteoporosis is one of those health issues that go unnoticed until it becomes a health crisis. This bone-weakening disease works silently and is often symptom-free meaning it’s undiagnosed until an incident occurs– like a nasty fall or even a minor bump, in more severe cases.
Today, I want to take some time to speak to bone health and some warning signs and risk factors for Osteoporosis. Keep reading for some important information that could keep you in good health!
What is Osteoporosis?
Let’s get started by looking at what Osteoporosis is; it means “porous bone” so consider this: when you look at healthy bone under a microscope, it resembles a honeycomb.
However, when Osteoporosis occurs, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone.
Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.
In short, Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. All of which makes your bones weak and can lead to breaks or fractures.
Are There Warning Signs?
Osteoporosis is a common ailment that affects over 50 million Americans! Studies have revealed that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to Osteoporosis.
While a broken bone may not seem too serious, the older you are, the more serious complications that may occur.
Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely to occur in the hip, spine or wrist, but other bones can break too. Osteoporosis can cause a loss in height, stooped or hunched posture, and permanent pain.
So, how can you look out for Osteoporosis? Here are three red flags to be aware of:
1. Brittle Fingernails
Nail strength is often associated with bone health if you notice a change in your fingernails; it’s likely that you are losing bone density.
It’s true that brittle nails could also indicate a nutritional deficiency which is why you should consult a doctor soon after noticing this change.
2. Weakened Grip Strength
Are you having a tough time opening jars, holding on to items, or feel like you’re not able to grip as tightly as before? Grip strength has been linked to low bone mineral density measurements in the spine and hip.
3. A Decline in Fitness Level
I’m not saying you should be able to run a marathon, but if you notice your balance, muscle strength, and aerobic abilities are declining the culprit may be Osteoporosis.
As bones become weaker some signs will become more and more evident, like a loss in height or breaking bones more easily. It’s important to be proactive and mindful of changes in your body so as to not suffer from the effects of Osteoporosis.
Bone Health Consult
We recommend scheduling a bone health consult if you are:
- A person over the age of 50
- A postmenopausal woman
- A man with low testosterone
- Been treated for breast or prostate cancer
- Taking glucocorticoid medications such as prednisone, cortisone, or dexamethasone for two months or longer or are taking other medications known to cause bone loss
- Known to have a family history of osteoporosis
- You have a chronic medical condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Kidney Disease or COPD
If you suspect you may be dealing with signs of Osteoporosis, ACellOrtho can help! Schedule a bone health consult today, and we’ll discuss potential treatment plans.