Causes & Symptoms of Osteoporosis

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 17, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Osteoporosis develops when the bones lose too much density.
  • It is usually referred to as a silent disease.
  • It affects the bones in wrists, hips and vertebrae.
  • The condition may not cause any warning signs or symptoms.

Osteoporosis is a common condition affecting millions of people around the world. It weakens the bones making them more prone to fractures. People with osteoporosis can break their bones while just performing a casual task that they had no problem doing when they were younger. It is usually referred to as a silent disease since it doesn't show any significant sign or symptom.

People usually don't realize they have the condition until a minor injury or fall leads to greater damage. The condition is usually diagnosed during a visit to the hospital for treatment of injuries or fractures in bones. It is such that the patient loses bones without even realising until a strain, bump or fall causes a bone to break and the doctor diagnoses the condition.

Causes

Most commonly, osteoporosis causes wrist fractures, hip fractures and fractures of the vertebrae, however, it can also cause breaks in arms, ribs or pelvis. During childhood, bones grow and repair very quickly, but with age the process slows down. Bones grow in length only until the ages of 16 and 18, however, they continue to increase in density until late 20s. People usually start to lose bone density from the age of about 35. Women lose bone density even more rapidly right after menopause.

Losing bone density is a normal part of the ageing process, however, in some people it can lead to osteoporosis. Factors that increase your risk of developing osteoporosis include conditions that affect the hormone-producing glands, mal absorption problems, inflammatory conditions, heavy drinking and smoking, a family history of osteoporosis and long-term use of certain medications.

Symptoms

Osteoporosis doesn't cause any symptoms and develops slowly over several years. There are usually no warnings signs. The doctors usually proactively check for the condition in older people with fractures. The condition is confirmed through tests such as x-ray. In older people, a fractured bone caused by osteoporosis can be serious and result in long-term disability. Although there are no specific symptoms, some older people may develop a characteristic stooping caused by fractured spinal bone.

Image Courtesy: Getty

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