Osteoporosis is a disease that reduces the density of bones, causing them to become weak. The inside of a healthy, dense bone resembles a tight honeycomb. A bone belonging to a person with osteoporosis resembles a honeycomb with significantly larger holes.
When the condition progresses, the bones become less dense and the holes in them get larger. It is natural to lose some bone density with aging, but people with osteoporosis lose density at a faster pace and do not regain density as quickly as they should.
Risk of Fracture With Osteoporosis
Losing density makes bones weaker and more fragile. For this reason, individuals with osteoporosis are significantly more likely to experience fractures and broken bones, because their bones cannot handle as much pressure as they used to. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men above age 50 are at risk for an osteoporotic fracture.
Symptoms of Fracture
Fractures lead to significant pain, immobility, weakness in the body, and extensive treatments to fix. Osteoporosis can be dangerous because it is oftentimes diagnosed at a very late stage. When a fracture has developed in a bone, doctors get the opportunity to look inside the bone at the fracture site.
One of the few ways to know if a person has osteoporosis is to look at the inside of a patient’s bone. By this stage, the osteoporosis has progressed significantly, which likely led to the fracture in the first place. Early detection can help reduce the progression of osteoporosis, as well as bone density loss.
Since weak bones reduce a person’s ability to participate in activities, having osteoporosis also reduces the body’s endurance significantly. For example, playing sports like basketball may be dangerous with osteoporosis because a fall could lead to a fracture.
But even a simple fall in the house or a slip on ice could result in a fracture. Because of this, patients with osteoporosis have to be very careful to reduce the chances of injury.
Because osteoporosis is difficult to detect, doctors recommend being aware of risk factors that can make people more prone to developing osteoporosis. If you have any of the following risk factors, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor about your chances of developing osteoporosis and what preventive steps you can take to keep the condition at bay.
Women have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis than men.
Osteoporosis generally develops in older people (above the age of 40).
Medical research has found that Caucasian and Asian individuals are more likely to develop osteoporosis than people of other ethnicities.
Family history of osteoporosis is a sign that you may be at a higher risk of developing it. If you have older family members like parents or grandparents who had or have osteoporosis, it may increase your risk.
Petite and thinner people are also more likely to develop osteoporosis. This is because petite people have less bone than people with larger frames, so a little bone loss can lead to weaker bones a lot faster.
Other Health Conditions
Sometimes, other health conditions can make a person more prone to developing osteoporosis. An example of this is rheumatoid arthritis, which increases the risk of developing osteoporosis later on in life.
Bone Care Expertise in Missouri
If you have any of the risk factors associated with osteoporosis, it’s critical that you speak with a doctor who can help keep you healthy as long as possible by safeguarding your bone density.
The experts at Advanced Bone & Joint offer personalized treatment for all types of bone-related conditions, including osteoporosis. Call (636) 229-4222 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.