What Is Osteoporosis?

Are you at risk for osteoporosis? This condition increases the risk of bone fractures due to their reduced ability to bear the load of muscles, other bones, or external forces. Taking steps to prevent your risks now can help you avoid complications in the future. Here’s what you should know about causes and treatments.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the density of bones is reduced due to increased loss of material from them. This results in impairments in the strength and function of these structures. Osteoporosis is often termed “brittle bones.” In cases of severe osteoporosis, simple motions or gestures may result in a broken bone. This disorder may lead to damage to the bones of the wrists hips or spine. If you suffer from osteoporosis, you can also be at a greater risk of falls or injuries.

What is osteoporosis? A video

Osteoporosis Causes

Osteoporosis may occur as a natural, age-related process over time. However, certain factors or variables may increase the risk of developing the condition. These may include:

  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Female gender
  • Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • The use of steroid medications
  • Regular or high-volume tobacco smoking
  • Regular or high-volume alcohol consumption

An individual may develop a number of characteristic types of bone damage as a result of osteoporosis. These include vertebral compression fractures, in which the bones of the spine lose tissue, and thus their proper structure, until they collapse inward. One or more of these fractures may result in a loss of vertical height and mechanical disturbance or damage to the spinal cord. Vertebral compression fractures are also associated with pain, impaired motion, and other possible neurological symptoms resulting from spinal cord impingement.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

The early stages of osteoporosis may be asymptomatic or not exhibit noticeable signs. This may hinder a diagnosis until bone density loss has progressed enough to cause an adverse event. Early detectable signs of osteoporosis may include pain and spinal deformity due to vertebral compression fracture.

Diagnostic procedures for the condition include tests for bone density. These may detect the presence of osteoporosis or a high risk for the condition. The degree of bone matter loss may contribute to a decision by the patient and physician concerning the next appropriate step in treatment for this condition.

Osteoporosis Treatments

Treatment for osteoporosis typically includes the management of pain, if present, or procedures that address bone loss in important regions of the skel