As adults, parents, grandparents, guardians and caregivers, we tend to make it a point to advise the younger generation to drink lots of milk, eat healthy and exercise, and that is so that they can maintain healthy and strong bones – among countless other reasons.
While we might not often think of them as such, it is important to note that our bones are living tissues; tissue that lives a cyclical life of breaking down and being replaced. However, it isn’t only the young that need to be conscious of their bone health.
For while our bones develop significantly as we grow up and mature, on the opposite end of the spectrum, bone health can become impaired later on it life, and usually affects the older population. What I am referring to is known as osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis literally translates to “porous bones,” and is a disease that is characterized by low bone mass and a overall weakening and deterioration of bone tissue. Normally, bone is made of tough, elastic fibers made of collagen and gritty, hard materials made of minerals. Initially, as a person grows, the bone will form faster than it is resorbed. However, as you get older, this process reverses.
In fact, after the age of 35, most people will begin to lose a certain amount of bone material, especially as they become less dense and strong. While this is standard across the board, what varies is the amount bone loss that takes place. If the loss is substantial, and considered to be a ‘thinning’ of the bones, then chances are osteoporosis is the diagnosis. If you are suffering from a milder form of bone loss, then you might be suffering from osteopenia.
When it comes to either osteoporosis or osteopenia, it is worth knowing that ALL bones can be affected by the disease. Even so, it is usually the spine, hip and wrists that are most susceptible to breakage. In the elderly, a broken hip can be especially damaging due to the prolonged time of immobility required for healing, which sadly can lead to blood clots and pneumonia, both of which can be fatal.
It is estimated that almost 9 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis, 90 percent of which are women. Each year, there is a reported 2 million fractures that are directly linked to osteoporosis, and most of those, doctor’s report, are preventable. The key is be prepared for what, in many cases. is the inevitable and by being proactive and informed. While the cause is unknown, if you can detect the onset of osteoporosis as or even before it becomes serious, you can significantly decrease the impact it has on your life.
Keeping that in mind, allow us to present to you 10 of the most common signs of osteoporosis so that you can help battle this disease and enjoy your golden years.
One of the most generally known signs and symptoms of osteoporosis is a predisposition to bone fractures. Sadly, this is also one of the worst initial symptoms I can person can exhibit.
As we mentioned earlier, osteoporosis is the condition that causes bones to weaken and thin. And while this is a very common occurrence in the aging population, especially women. However, as common as this disease is, it doesn’t always present the most outward of symptoms, and the ones that are demonstrated can often be misdiagnosed or considered a natural result of old age.
If you notice that your bones are “cracking” or “popping” a little more than normal; combined with other symptoms on this list, then we recommend going to visit your healthcare professional as soon as possible. If osteoporosis is the culprit, there are certain treatment options available that help a person mitigate the impact of this disease on their lives.