Our bones are what anatomically make a person who they are, the framework for everyday movement and stability. Did you ever stop to think, how do I know whether my bones are healthy or not? I mean, we can’t see them, because they are beneath our skin. We can’t listen to them like our heart or lungs. Although, it turns out there are many outward signs and symptoms that shed light on the health of our bones that we may not have known are there.
Today researchers and doctors know a lot more about how to protect your bones throughout your life. The tools and techniques used by specialists to diagnose and treat conditions are constantly evolving. There are a variety of imaging solutions (MRI, CT Scan, Ultrasound, DEXA bone density scans), available to help your doctor accurately diagnose disorders and injuries and identify the exact cause of what is actually affecting the musculoskeletal system, in this case, osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones,” and is a degenerative disease that results due to loss of bone density. This condition affects approximately 10 million Americans, a majority of that percentage being middle-aged and more commonly, elderly women.
People with osteoporosis are prone to fracturing their bones due to low bone density, in other words, a loss of bone tissue and low bone mass which causes weak and fragile bone structure. As we lose bone mass with age, it could lead to osteoporosis without any noticeable symptoms. In fact, many seniors do not realize they have osteoporosis until they fall and break a bone. Research also shows that genetics plays a major role in osteoporosis. If your family has a history of osteoporosis or broken bones, you are more at risk for developing the disease.
If you begin experiencing any signs that your bones may have begun to weaken, it is very important that you undergo a screening because if you are in fact, developing osteoporosis, the sooner you receive an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment, the more it can be prevented from becoming more severe.
Getting tested early will offer you the ability to have strength and mobility for the rest of your life, which those diagnosed with osteoporosis, unfortunately, suffer the loss of. In addition, knowing signs of osteoporosis early on may save you or someone you know from missing them, or ignoring the pain that needs to be addressed by a specialist. Here are some of the major warning signs associated with early bone loss due to osteoporosis:
1. Receding gums: Receding gums can be attributed to bone loss. Our teeth are connected to the jaw bone and if the jaw is losing bone, gums can recede. A visit to the dentist can provide an opportunity to screen you for bone loss. So, ask your dentist to share any information and insight they see from your exam regarding your bone health.
2. Decreased grip strength: As we grow older, our bones become less flexible, weaker, and brittle. Therefore, one’s overall bone mineral density and grip strength, meaning the ability to hold onto things suffers as a result of early signs of osteoporosis. Strength is within your reach, no matter what your age. There are exercises and things you can do to increase your muscle strength and provide the extra support you need.
3. Weak and brittle fingernails:A sign of osteoporosis, believe it or not, is weak and brittle nails. When one’s nails are strong, this indicates good bone strength. If your nails tend to be breaking and brittle quite often there are supplements and things you can do to make your nails stronger, and also improve bone health.
These are just a few warning signs and are certainly not definitive for making a diagnosis, but they are warning signs none the less, and warrant a visit to an orthopedic specialist. As mentioned before, identifying these signs early on will help you to begin treating your osteoporosis sooner. These indicators of early bone loss may also save you from unwanted surgery and other severe complications down the line and offer you the freedom of strength and movement for the rest of your life.
If you are concerned about osteoporosis or any other musculoskeletal conditions, Advanced Bone & Joint can help. For your individualized osteoporosis screening, call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 229-4222 or you can request an appointment online.