Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that causes loss of bone mass. It is characterized by the hallowing or weakening of bones to the point that a fall or even a non-incident can cause fractures. Osteoporosis usually affects the wrist, hip, and spine.
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are ways to slow the progression of the condition if it is caught early. Unfortunately, in its early stages, osteoporosis presents no symptoms and is often only diagnosed when a bone has fractured. To catch osteoporosis early, there are bone density tests recommended for men over the age of 60 and for women over the age of 50.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Osteoporotic bones are porous, and while there is no single cause of osteoporosis, there are factors that can accelerate the development of the disease as well as the loss of bone mass and strength.
Bones are made of living tissue, composed of a hard shell and an inner spongy component. For people with osteoporosis, holes form in the spongy part of bones, which contribute to the loss of mass and strength and cause the overall weakening of the bone.
Your bones store minerals such as calcium. When your body needs calcium, the calcium in your bones breaks down to supply your body with what it needs. Then, over time, your bones build new bone mass to replace what was lost. This is a normal process of bone breakdown and build-up. However, because of osteoporosis, you may lose bone mass faster than your ability to rebuild it, which causes the bone to become porous and weak.
Issues like this usually develop once a person reaches middle age, however, there are risk factors that can accelerate bone loss. For women, bones break down rapidly after menopause.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
Aging is one of the most well-known risk factors for osteoporosis – partly due to the drop in estrogen or testosterone levels. While aging itself cannot be prevented, not every person over the age of 50 suffers from osteoporosis. For some people, rapid bone loss may be genetic. Having someone in the family with osteoporosis increases your chances of developing the disease.
However, for many, bone loss could be caused by other things, such as lifestyle choices. Lack of vitamin D and calcium as well as problems with mineral absorption can accelerate bone loss. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle are also factors that contribute to bone loss. Being underweight is also linked to lower bone mass and weak bones.
Another risk factor is being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that confines you to your bed or chair. Being sedentary can keep you from using the muscles and bones in your hip and spine, which can weaken them. Other medical conditions that may contribute to osteoporosis include rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, and thyroid issues. Finally, treatments and medications used to treat other health conditions can also contribute to bone loss, such as steroids and cancer treatments.
Bone Loss Treatment in Bismarck, North Dakota
To address bone loss, seek care from the orthopedic experts at The Bone & Joint Center. We are a team of board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons who treat osteoporosis with one goal in mind: to prevent the progression of bone loss that could lead to other complications. We are also highly trained in the care and treatment of broken bones should you need trauma care.
For comprehensive orthopedic care, call The Bone & Joint Center at (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650 or submit an appointment request now.