Osteoporosis Q & A
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a medical condition where the person’s bones become thin and brittle. This weakening can cause painful fractures. Risk factors for osteoporosis include being female, low body weight, aging, low sex hormones, menopause, smoking, and the use of some medications. Prevention and care for osteoporosis typically include exercise, calcium and vitamin D supplements, and osteoporosis medications.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Many people do not realize they have osteoporosis until they fracture a bone in a situation where a break should not have occurred. There some symptoms of the disorder which can include:
- Fractures of the spine, hip, or wrist
- A gradual loss of height and a related hunched posture
When does a woman's risk of osteoporosis rise?
Once a woman enters menopause, the risk of developing osteoporosis goes up significantly. Osteoporosis is more common in Caucasian and Asian women. It is also very common for women who have small, thin frames.
Are younger women also at risk?
Thin teens and college-age women who exercise at an extreme rate are at a much higher risk of not having menstrual periods. This is a condition called amenorrhea and is related to decreased estrogen levels, which is linked to osteoporosis. A diet low in calcium and other similar nutrients can also cause low bone density. Teenage girls who severely limit their caloric intake and who don’t have a menstrual period will also be at a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Young female athletes who are trying to achieve a low body weight for running or dancing are also more likely to develop amenorrhea in addition to those who compete in sports such as figure skating and gymnastics.
When should I call the doctor about osteoporosis?
If you develop a backache or sudden severe back pain, contact the office to schedule a meeting with a doctor at Premier Family Medical. These symptoms can be a sign of a spinal compression fracture as a result of osteoporosis. Dental X-rays can also reveal bone loss in the jaw, which could be an indication of osteoporosis.