You may have heard about osteoporosis and know that it's some kind of disorder that affects the bones. You may also wonder if you are at risk for getting this condition. To help you better understand this medical condition, here are the answers to four frequently asked questions about osteoporosis.
1. What Exactly Is Osteoporosis?
If the body loses too much bone mass, or it doesn't make enough bone, the result is a disease called osteoporosis. In either of these instances, the bones become weak, and there is an increased chance of fractures or even breaking.
2. Are Some People at an Increased Risk of Getting Osteoporosis?
According to the American Osteoporosis Foundation, about 10 million people living in the United States have osteoporosis. Another 44 million are at increased risk of getting the disease due to low bone density.
Some people are at a higher risk of getting osteoporosis including:
- Those with autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Those who are on certain medications that cause bone loss
- Women who are going through menopause
- Those who smoke and/or are heavy drinkers
Age and gender can also increase the risk of getting osteoporosis. In fact, the chances of women getting osteoporosis are four times higher than men.
3. What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
In the earliest stages of bone loss, there are often no symptoms. If you are someone who is at an increased risk of getting osteoporosis, you should beware of the following symptoms:
- Back pain caused by a fractured vertebra
- Loss of height
- Poor or stooped posture
- Bones fracture or break more easily than expected
- Dull pain in the bones, especially in the neck and back
If you have any of the above symptoms, or you are concerned about getting osteoporosis, you may want to talk to your doctor about undergoing a bone density scan.
4. What are the Treatment Options for Osteoporosis?
Once bone loss has occurred, it can be very difficult to regain. For those diagnosed with osteoporosis, the emphasis is put on keeping the bones as strong as possible and preventing fractures. In order to do this, some things can help, such as:
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Taking calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D supplements
- Taking certain medications that can aid in slowing down bone loss
There are also certain foods that can help the bones stay as strong as possible. Some of these foods include wild-caught fish and green leafy vegetables. For more information, contact a company like Sarasota Arthritis Center.