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Osteoporosis - The Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments

The inside of healthy bones has masses of small spaces that look similar to a honeycomb. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that increases the size of the spaces inside of the bone, which causes the bone to lose density and strength. As this occurs, it also causes the outside of your bones to become thinner and weaker. Osteoporosis can affect people of any age; however, it more common in the elderly, especially women. Those with osteoporosis have a high risk of fractures, including vertebral fractures, which are quite painful. Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are treatments available to slow the progress.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

It is important to note that those with osteoporosis are at an extremely high risk of fractures and/or bone breaks, even while doing routine activities, such as walking or standing. Although it can affect any bone, the most frequently affected are hips, ribs, and the bones in your spine and wrists. Unfortunately, the early stages of osteoporosis typically don't cause any symptoms or warning signs. In most situations, those affected with the disease don't even know they have it until they have a fracture. If symptoms do occur, early symptoms may include:

  • Weakened grip strength
  • Brittle and weak nails
  • Receding gums

Osteoporosis Treatments

Your doctor will first do a variety of tests to determine if you have osteoporosis and if the tests show that you do have osteoporosis, your physician will work with you to create the best treatment plan for you and your lifestyle. Treatment may include:

  • Medications known as bisphosphonates, which are used to prevent the loss of bone mass
  • Medications that increase bone formation
  • Calcium supplements
  • Vitamin D intake, which may include a change in diet and/or supplements
  • Lifestyle changes, which may include quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, regular exercise, and eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Hormone therapy

Keep in mind while exercising, that even mild exercise may lead to fractures, so it is important to talk with your doctor about the safest type of exercise for you and your degree of risk for fractures.

There is no cure for osteoporosis; however, getting the appropriate osteoporosis treatment may help to protect as well as strengthen your bones. The primary goal of treatment is the prevention of bone fractures by reducing the amount of bone loss. Early detection and timely treatment may substantially decrease your risk of future fractures. The best prevention is to start early in life with eating healthy, calcium-enriched foods, routinely exercising, and avoiding excess weight which may not prevent osteoporosis, but may lessen the risk of fractures.

For more information on osteoporosis treatments, contact your local medical professionals.