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Osteoporosis is a disease found in the bones. An osteoporosis diagnosis means a woman’s bones are porous, which means her bones are not as thick as they used to be and therefore, not as strong. This reduction in bone strength makes the bones much more fragile, very much increasing a woman’s risk of breaking a bone. The disease is directly related to aging and begins to occur when the body’s production of hormones begins to decline. The most common types of fractures caused by osteoporosis include fractures of the wrist, spine, shoulder and hip.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one in three women aged 50 years and over are at risk of an osteoporotic fracture.
WHAT CAUSES OSTEOPOROSIS?
The bones in our body consist of living tissue. This means that old bone cells are continually being replaced with new bone cells, which supports healthy bones. Osteoporosis occurs when the old bone cells are not being replaced quickly enough with the proper amount of new cells to keep the bones strong. A woman’s peak bone mass tends to occur in her early to mid-twenties, making this a very important time for her to build up her bone mass as much as possible. The less bone mass a woman has built up in her twenties, the higher her chances are of being diagnosed with osteoporosis as she ages.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms associated with this disease often do not show up in the early stages. Instead, a woman will only experience symptoms once the osteoporosis is already causing her to suffer from a variety of other health-related problems. Common signs and symptoms that come with osteoporosis:
- Experiencing back pain, more often than not caused by a fractured vertebrae
- Standing or walking stooped over or in a slumped position
- Getting shorter over time
- Easily fracturing a bone
HOW IS OSTEOPOROSIS TREATED?
A medical professional will determine a woman’s bone density by taking an X-ray of her body. The type of treatment will depend on the results from her X-rays. Common options to treat osteoporosis include:
- Taking prescribed medications, i.e. bisphosphonates
- Undergoing hormone-related therapy, i.e. estrogen
- Alternative treatment options, i.e. soy protein
- Taking recommended doses of calcium and vitamin D
- When to see a medical professional
An appointment with a medical professional should be made by the time a woman reaches the age of 65 so she can have a bone density test performed. It is also recommended for a woman who is under the age of 65, yet experiencing any of the above symptoms, to make an appointment with a medical professional to get tested. It is recommended for women to write down the details of any problems that they are experiencing, as the more information they can give their medical profession, the better they will be able to assist them.
HOW STRONG ARE YOUR BONES?
You may be living with osteoporosis and not even know it as the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis normally do not appear until it is in its more advanced stages. Whether you are just starting to experience some of the symptoms above or have been experiencing them for a while now, it is essential for you to make an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible for a complete and proper diagnosis. Once you are diagnosed, you and your doctor can come up with a treatment plan together, which is going to support your ability to have strong and healthy bones once again.