Recognizing 3 signs you may already have osteoporosis

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It’s one thing to know the risk factors for osteoporosis – family history, smoking, small-framed women, postmenopausal women - but would you recognize warning signs you may already have this brittle bone disease?

Osteoporosis develops silently.  A person will not feel the gradual loss of bone as time goes by.   For the most part this disease is asymptomatic until there are clear warning signs staring you in the face.  These signs usually do not appear until the disease is more advanced and well under way. To best time to catch and treat osteoporosis is before you develop any signs or symptoms.  Knowing and understanding the risk factors for this disease is important as it can help you make lifestyle changes before the condition has set in. 

Here are 3 signs that you may already have osteoporosis:

1.      Fractures that occur from minimal force – It is one thing to have a fracture or broken bone occur due to being involved in a car crash or falling from a ladder.  But if you simply bumped into something or fell a short distance and it resulted in a broken bone, this could be signaling osteoporosis.

2.      Unexplained bone or joint pain – At first, osteoporosis causes no symptoms because bone density loss occurs very gradually.  Some people never develop symptoms.  However, when osteoporosis causes bones to fracture or break, people may have pain depending on the type of fracture.  Many things can cause bone or joint pain but osteoporosis is certainly one to consider.  When the bones lack sufficient strength to hold the weight of your body, then an injury can happen.  Anytime you have bone or joint pain that is not attributable to anything else, then it raises the consideration of a bone health problem.

3.      Loss of height or stooping – Osteoporosis can result in loss of height because the discs between the vertebrae in the spine dehydrate and compress.  As the spine ages, it can also become curved with the vertebrae collapsing (compression fracture) due to loss of bone density (osteoporosis).  Loss of muscle tone in the torso can also contribute to a stooped posture.  Sometimes a person can have a compression fracture of the spine that may go undetected or be attributed to a back strain type of injury. 

Any person who is experiencing any of the above 3 signs of osteoporosis needs to see their doctor to request a bone density test.  Osteoporosis can only be diagnosed by knowing your bone density. The treatment for this condition is best accomplished once you know the extent of the disease.