Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by rapid bone loss and slow creation of new bone cells, resulting in a reduction of bone mass and density over time. Upon closer inspection with a microscope, bones of patients with osteoporosis are porous and have large holes in its honeycomb-like structure due to the disease.
Patients with osteoporosis have weak and brittle bones that can easily fracture – sometimes just by sneezing or from sudden movements. Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on stimulating creation of new bone mass against the rapid bone loss. Currently, there is no cure for osteoporosis.
Some patients diagnosed with osteoporosis may choose not to receive treatment due to fear of the side effects of bone-preserving drugs or simply due to negligence. However, when weighing the benefits and risks, leaving osteoporosis untreated can have detrimental effects on your quality of life.
Here is why you should seek treatment for osteoporosis.
An Increase in Bone Fractures and Lower Quality of Life
Bone fractures in patients with weak or brittle bones can be life-threatening and very costly. Many patients (between 20 to 40 percent) with osteoporosis who fracture their hip end up dying. A hip fracture is extremely painful and severely debilitating – even more so for a person with osteoporosis. This is because a brittle bone is more likely to shatter into tiny pieces instead of breaking into a few large fragments. A shattered bone is much more difficult to reconstruct and heal.
Your quality of life is likely to take a massive dip from symptoms of a broken bone and the loss of function and independence. Osteoporosis left untreated increases the likelihood of fractures. Simple actions such as sneezing or coughing, making a sudden turn, or bumping into a hard surface can result in a fracture. This can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and cause you to refrain from participating in activities that you enjoy.
Other than hip fractures, spine compression fractures are also a complication associated with osteoporosis. The vertebral discs in your spine may collapse, cause pain, and form a hunch in your upper back. It is why people associate osteoporosis with a hunched over back. Moreover, osteoporosis can also cause a decrease in your height due to compression of the torso and abdomen.
Recovery from a fracture takes a long time. It can take even longer for those who have osteoporosis. You may think that an osteoporosis patient can avoid treatment for the disease and seek treatment only after a fracture has occurred, but know that the patient will likely never return to their pre-fracture level of function and will need long-term care and assistance.
Reducing the loss of bone mass also reduces risk of fractures. You should do everything in your power to protect yourself so your quality of life remains as high as possible. As such, seeking treatment is the best source of action.
Top Bone and Joint Doctors in North Dakota
At The Bone & Joint Center, our orthopedic surgeons create highly individualized treatment plans for patients with osteoporosis. Our goal is to help your bones remain as strong as possible, so you have a reduced risk of fractures. We bring together other specialists, such as physical and occupational therapists, to help improve your physical function, so you can enjoy greater independence and live your best life.
To schedule a consultation, call The Bone & Joint Center clinic at (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650. You can also request an appointment online. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you.