Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition that causes the bones in the body to lose mass over time. Osteoporosis also causes the bones to fracture easily, leading to painful injuries and decreased quality of life. Understanding the causes of osteoporosis and how you can prevent osteoporosis from occurring can help you avoid this disabling condition.
What causes osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis can be caused by a variety of factors, and for many people, there may not be one single cause of osteoporosis. The following factors can contribute to the development of osteoporosis:
- Genetics. Osteoporosis is a genetic condition that can be passed from family member to family member, generation to generation. If your parents or grandparents have osteoporosis, you are more likely to have osteoporosis yourself.
- Age. The body naturally loses bone mass as it grows older. Sometime in middle age, the body stops building up new bone mass quickly enough to replace the bone mass that has been lost. If the rate of bone loss is too great and the rebuilding of bone mass is too slow, osteoporosis is the result.
- Nutrition. People who don't get enough calcium and vitamin D can more easily develop osteoporosis.
What can you do to prevent osteoporosis?
If you are concerned that you are susceptible to osteoporosis, you can help prevent this condition by eating foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D and by getting proper exercise. Eating leafy greens, soy products, salmon and sardines and dairy products are all good ways to ensure that your diet is rich in the proper nutrients. Make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to discuss the best ways to avoid osteoporosis.
What are the warning signs that you have osteoporosis?
Patients with osteoporosis will see no symptoms in the early stages, so unless you are diligently watching for osteoporosis, you may not find out that you have this condition until the case is advanced. Symptoms include easy bone fracturing, back pain and a stooping posture. If you are concerned that you may be susceptible to osteoporosis but are not yet showing symptoms, work with your physician or see an orthopaedic specialist to try to catch the problem early.
What is the treatment for osteoporosis?
In some cases, patients with osteoporosis must see an orthopaedic surgeon, like one at Tedder Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, because surgery is required to stabilize crushed bones in the spine. Unfortunately, osteoporosis cannot be reversed. Once bone is lost, it cannot be regained. Other treatments focus on slowing the development of osteoporosis. This is done with proper nutrition and exercise. If you have osteoporosis, you'll work with your orthopedic specialist, endocrinologist and general physician to devise a treatment plan that will suit your needs.