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The Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common condition which affects a large number of people around the United States. For those who develop osteoporosis, their bones will begin to lose much of their essential substance such as the calcium and other important minerals. This loss of substance causes the bones to become much weaker, which means that they will be much more prone to breaks and fractures.

First Signs of Osteoporosis

Most people with osteoporosis will experience severe fractures in their hip and wrist bones after a simple fall. What’s more, osteoporosis will also significantly increase the risk of suffering a compression fracture in one of the vertebrae. Compression fractures are the result of weakened vertebrae which can crack under the pressure that is normally applied when a person is standing up straight. This type of fracture can cause people to develop a curvature in the spine near the shoulders which is known as a “widow’s hump”.

In general, you will not be able to see any outward differences or symptoms as the bones begin to develop osteoporosis. So, things like the development of a widow’s hump or bones that fracture with surprising ease are often the very first visible signs that you actually have osteoporosis. However, this medical condition could be diagnosed at a much earlier stage if your doctor takes regular measurements of your bone density. For both men and women, common symptoms of osteoporosis can include an alteration in their posture, an unexplained loss in height, and unusual back pain.

The Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis

In the earliest stages of osteoporosis, people will probably not experience any accompanying pain or other visible symptoms. However, this will be much different once the bones have been significantly weakened by this condition. The most common signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include:

  • Gradual loss of height over time
  • The development of a more stooped posture
  • Sudden back pain (this may be the result of a collapsed vertebra or compression fracture
  • Your bones break or fracture much more easily than would be expected

Time to Seek Medical Attention

You will probably need to go see your doctor if any of the following were to take place:

  • Alarming loss of height
  • You have started menopause at an earlier than expected
  • You have been taking corticosteroid medication for a long period of time
  • Bones are breaking under a surprisingly weak amount of pressure
  • Dental x-rays have shown that significant bone loss in the jaw (in some cases, this could have been the result of gum disease and not osteoporosis)
  • You have a family medical history of osteoporosis

If you think that you might have osteoporosis, then you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. When you meet up with your doctor, please make sure that you detail any of the symptoms that you have experienced and provide an up-to-date family medical history (this will help your doctor make the most accurate diagnosis). Osteoporosis can be treated effectively, so don’t let this medical condition control your life.