Osteoporosis is a common disease that causes broken bones, fractures, and spine problems in millions of people every year. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is projected that as many as half of all Americans over age 50 will be at risk for broken bones due to Osteoporosis by the year 2020.
But because the disease often develops with no apparent pain or other symptoms, many people are unaware that they even have it until they experience a fracture resulting from the condition.
For this reason, the month of May has been designated as Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, which focuses on good bone health through prevention, detection and treatment of Osteoporosis. It is a time to educate the public about the causes, risk factors, symptoms of the disease, and the lifestyle changes that can lead to stronger bones in order to help prevent breaks and fractures.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis, (which means 'porous bone',) is a serious condition that causes a reduction in bone density and quality as we age. When bones become porous and fragile, they are at significantly higher risk of fracture. This is especially dangerous for elderly or frail individuals who have a greater possibility of falls.
Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as “the silent disease”, because bone loss can occur silently and progressively, and often goes unnoticed even after a fracture, (which may be attributed to clumsiness or hazardous conditions in an environment rather than the disease.)
The good news is that Osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging; it is preventable with awareness and better lifestyle habits. Learning how to increase bone density, properly exercise, maintain good nutrition and even how to prevent falls will substantially reduce the likelihood of suffering fractures as we age.
What causes Osteoporosis?
Human bones are living tissue that are constantly being regenerated with new bone. When we are young, our bones grow stronger and denser during replacement. But around our mid-30s, our bones start losing more density and strength than what is being built up during regeneration; this is normal and may not cause any issues for people who possess a strong bone mass. Osteoporosis is indicated when bone loss is so substantial that it causes easily fractured bones.Because lost bone cannot be restored, it is important that osteoporosis be diagnosed early, so that measures can be taken to maintain existing bone mass and stop further bone loss.
Who is at risk for Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men, with approximately 80% of osteoporosis cases occurring in women. While several factors can contribute to this condition in men or women of varying ages, here are the groups who are primarily at higher risk for the disease:
- Individuals over 65 years of age
- Post-menopausal women, (typically 50 years of age or older)
- Caucasian and Asian women
- Small-boned women with low body weight
- People with a family history of Osteoporosis
- Those who live a sedentary lifestyle
- Patients with medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease, diabetes or thyroid problems
- Those with excess body fat
- People who smokes or abuses alcohol, or takes certain medications
- Anyone with an inadequate nutritional intake
What are symptoms of Osteoporosis?
While it is true that people with Osteoporosis may experience no symptoms until a fracture occurs, there are some signs and symptoms which may indicate that your bones have been weakened by the disease:
- Back pain (due to fractured or collapsed vertebra)
- A noticeably curved spine (sometimes called a "dowager's hump")
- Decrease in height
- Stooped posture
- Bone fracture that occurs easily
- Brittle fingernails
- Receding gums
- Weakened grip strength
- Decrease in overall body fitness
Is Osteoporosis preventable?
The best way to avoid bone loss is to take measures as early as possible in life, (particularly in women,) to maintain and increase bone strength. Here are some of the ways you can help improve bone density and strength to prevent Osteoporosis:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Regularly engaging in bone-healthy exercise
- Get adequate levels of Calcium and Vitamin D
- Maintain a healthy weight (not under- or over-weight)
- Limit alcohol use
- Stop Smoking
- Learn about fall prevention
While the above factors may help to prevent Osteoporosis, they can also help slow bone loss in individuals who already suffer from the disease.
Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month is the perfect time to gain a better understanding of the risk factors, symptoms and ways to helps prevent this dangerous disease. For more information, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation online.
Do You Live with Osteoporosis and Want to Prevent Further Bone Loss and Pain?
At Florida Pain Relief Centers, our expert pain management specialists are dedicated to providing minimally invasive, proven procedures and treatments based on the individual needs of each patient. Our specialists are highly skilled and ready to consult with you to find the most effective treatment to minimize your pain and restore your quality of life.
Call Florida Pain Relief Centers today at 800.215.0029 to schedule a consultation or click the button below to set up a consultation online at one of our clinic locations so we can discuss options for helping restore you to a more pain-free lifestyle.