Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle, often resulting in fractures due to even the mildest of stresses, such as bending over or coughing. These most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Ten million people over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis in this country, with the majority being women.

In essence, bone is a living tissue that is broken down and replaced on a continual basis. When the creation of new bone can’t keep up with the loss of old bone, osteoporosis results, says the Mayo Clinic. Medications, dietary changes and weight-bearing exercises will help prevent bone loss or even strengthen weak bones.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Most people don’t experience symptoms in the early stages but later signs can include:

  • Back pain due to fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height
  • Stooped posture
  • Easily-broken bones
  • Pain in lower back
  • Shortness of breath (smaller lung from compressed disks)

This condition affects older people rather than young people, as young people are better able to make new bone faster than it can break down. This leads to increases in bone mass. Most people reach peak bone mass by the age of 30.

As you approach age 50, your risk for this condition increases. Women are four times more likely to develop the disease than men, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, one in two women and one in four men will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis in their lifetimes. A further 30 percent already have low bone density (known as osteopenia), which places them at higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Risk Factors

Women experience rapid bone loss in the first decade after they hit menopause, an event that slows the production of estrogen (this is a hormone that guards against excessive bone loss).

In addition to menopause, here are some risk factors for osteoporosis:

  • Bone structure and body weight. Petite, thin people are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis because they simply have less bone to lose than others with higher body weight or larger frames.
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to have osteoporosis.
  • Family history
  • Some medical conditions and medications (overactive thyroid, Celiac disease, blood diseases)
  • Not enough calcium and vitamin D in the body.
  • Sedentary lifestyles.
  • Tobacco use.
  • Alcohol use.

Contact Summit Spine and Joint Centers for More Information on Osteoporosis

To learn how our pain management clinic can relieve symptoms of osteoporosis, call us at (770) 962-3642 or complete our online form. Our minimally-invasive techniques can restore function and improve quality of life. So, if you suffer from osteoporosis, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.