It's not something most people like to think about, but the fact is that osteoporosis can happen to anyone irrespective of gender. Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects both men and women. It occurs when bones lose too much of their density and porosity, becoming weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. Early diagnosis and treatment are key in preventing further bone loss and reducing the risk of fractures. While there are various treatments available for those diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are also several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, including eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. Nevertheless, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible if you are concerned about your bone health for early diagnosis, treatment, and expert advice on the best way to manage and prevent the condition from further worsening.
Causes of Osteoporosis
There’s a number of different things that can cause osteoporosis in a person. Some of the most common issues and risk factors include:
- Hormonal Fluctuations - Reduced hormone levels have been linked to bone deterioration. The decline in hormone levels throughout menopause is one of the most significant risk factors for the disorder. Furthermore, prostate cancer medications that lower hormones in men and breast cancer treatments that lower hormone levels in women are likely to hasten bone loss. Furthermore, an excess of thyroid hormones might lead to bone loss. This can happen if your thyroid is hyperactive or you consume an excess of thyroid hormone therapy to treat an underactive thyroid. Furthermore, osteoporosis has been linked to hyperactive hormone producing glands.
- Dietary Choices - Reduced calcium consumption leads to early bone loss, increased fractures, and decreased bone density. In addition, both men's and women's bones can be weakened by excessively reducing food intake and being very underweight.
- Lifestyle Choices - Smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, and eating an unhealthy diet can lead to weak bones. Making healthy choices is key to keeping your bones strong and preventing this debilitating disease.
- Uncontrollable Risk Factors - While anyone can develop osteoporosis, certain factors increase your risk of the condition. Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Also, the older you are, the greater your risk of developing the disorder. Moreover, if someone in your family has had osteoporosis, you're more likely to get it too.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
There’s plenty of signs that you can look out for. Some of them include:
- Unexplained Back Pain - If you're dealing with unexplained back pain, it's important to rule out any underlying health conditions, including osteoporosis. This condition can cause bones to become fragile, leading to back pain.
- Height Loss - Most people know that osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disorder, but many don't realize it can cause height loss. Height loss is one of the key signs and symptoms of osteoporosis. If you're experiencing significant height loss, be sure to see your doctor and get diagnosed, as early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing further bone loss.
- Curvature of the Spine - Studies have shown that people with greater spinal curvature are more likely to have osteoporosis. So if you’re noticing your spine curve more than usual, it might be time to talk to your doctor about getting tested for osteoporosis.
- Bone Fractures From Minor Injuries - Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, making them brittle and prone to fracture. Even relatively minor injuries can result in a fracture in someone with osteoporosis. If you're experiencing frequent bone fractures, even from minor injuries, it's important to see your doctor and get diagnosed with osteoporosis. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing this condition.
Treating Osteoporosis After Diagnosis
Once it is certain that you have osteoporosis, treatment is the best way to manage the condition. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor has likely prescribed medication to help manage the condition. These medications can be very effective in helping to rebuild bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. However, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions carefully when taking these drugs and report any potential side effects.
Calcium helps keep bones strong by maintaining bone density. Believe it or not, your body can't make bones without enough calcium. Luckily, there are many great sources of calcium out there – from dairy products to leafy greens. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, important for building bones. There are a few different ways to get your vitamin D, including foods fortified with vitamin D, supplements, and exposure to sunlight.
Researchers have found that exercise can help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. So if you're living with osteoporosis, be sure to incorporate regular exercise into your routine.