Health

Signs that Someone May be Suffering From Osteoporosis

16. Smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t good ideas, either. We already know that smoking isn’t good for us for several reasons. However, you can add osteoporosis… Trista - June 30, 2021
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16. Smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t good ideas, either.

We already know that smoking isn’t good for us for several reasons. However, you can add osteoporosis to that list on the top of those reasons, especially if you are a female. That’s because smoking raises the risk of a woman getting osteoporosis, as it damages her bones and lowers the amount of estrogen in her body. You may not realize this, but estrogen is a hormone made by your body that can help slow down bone loss.

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Furthermore, for those who drink often, you may want to cut back and drink more moderately. It will help you avoid those pesky hangovers and the damage you may be doing to your stomach and liver. However, you should also do it because alcohol can make it harder for your body to use the calcium that you take in. So if you drink a couple of glasses of milk throughout the day, take a calcium supplement, and then also have a few drinks a day on top of that, you aren’t doing yourself any good with the extra calcium intake. 

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15. Help to prevent falls from happening in your home. 

Have you already been diagnosed with osteoporosis? Are you now finding it harder to avoid falling, tripping and fracturing, or breaking bones? There are a few ways to help prevent falls from happening while in your home. Switch to bright light bulbs, especially in darker areas of your home. That way, you can see where you are going better, including in all staircases so that you don’t trip walking up or down the stairs. Install grab bars and handrails anywhere you may think you need the extra help stepping up over things. That includes where there are steps or small ledges.

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Remove things that may cause tripping, including all small rugs. They can bunch up and easily become a tripping hazard for anyone who isn’t paying attention when walking by. Don’t use step stools. If you need to get something that is above your reach, ask for help and try to put things in an easier-to-grab location for next time. Use non-slip mats in the shower and bathtub. Also, wear shoes with good support and non-slip soles to help prevent you from slipping and fracturing or breaking any bones.

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14. Be careful if you have osteoporosis and are at risk of falling. 

If you have osteoporosis, you should already know how easy it is to fracture or break a bone, and knowing that, you should take extra care when doing certain things to help prevent that from happening. If you are taking any medications, make sure to review them first with a healthcare professional. Some medications, or a combination of medications together, can result in feeling lightheaded or drowsiness, leading to a fall. Which, of course, is something you would want to avoid. Make sure to include over-the-counter medications and all prescription medications in your discussion with your doctor or pharmacist.

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Not everyone gets a yearly eye exam. However, if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may want to get one done every so often to make sure your vision is good. Poor vision from an incorrect glasses prescription or a condition like cataracts or glaucoma can result in a fall if you can’t see very well. Some health conditions can affect eyesight, as well as some medications, age, and genetics. If you notice that you don’t see very well, it may be time you get your vision checked, you may need new glasses, and they may even help to prevent a fall.

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13. How osteoporosis affects women. 

You may not have realized this, but being female puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. About 10 million Americans are estimated to have osteoporosis, and about 8 million, or 80%, are women. A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of uterine, breast, and ovarian cancer. Moreover, approximately one in two women over 50 will fracture or break a bone due to osteoporosis. If you are a female and have any symptoms that may lead to an osteoporosis diagnosis, let your doctor know.

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There are multiple reasons why women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men. That includes how women tend to have smaller and thinner bones than men. A hormone in women that protects bones, also known as estrogen, decreases quickly when women reach menopause. Thus, it can cause bone loss. That is why the chance of a woman developing osteoporosis, who is reaching menopause increases. If you are reaching the age of menopause, it may be time to mention to your doctor about checking your bone health. That is, if they haven’t started to discuss that with you already.

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12. Women, menopause, and osteoporosis are related. 

When a woman reaches menopause, her risk for osteoporosis increases due to her estrogen levels dropping, leading to possible bone loss. Not all, but some women do experience rapid and severe bone loss during this time. Two major factors affect your chances of getting osteoporosis if you are a woman. The first factor depends on the amount of bone that you have when you reach menopause. The greater your bone density is, to begin with, your chances of developing osteoporosis become lower. If you have a low peak bone mass or other risk factors that caused you to lose bone mass, your chances of getting osteoporosis increase.

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The second factor depends on how fast you lose bone mass after you reach menopause. Bone loss happens faster than others for some women. A woman can lose up to 20% of bone density during the five to seven years after menopause. Furthermore, as you probably guessed, if you lose bone mass quickly, you increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Suppose you are having menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes and mood swings. In that case, your healthcare provider may prescribe you estrogen therapy (ET) or estrogen with progesterone hormone therapy (HT) that can help you with your menopausal symptoms. On top of helping to control your symptoms, these therapies can also help to prevent bone loss, as well. 

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11. How osteoporosis affects men. 

Men in their 50s do not experience the rapid loss of bone mass that women of the same age do in the years following menopause. However, by the age of 65 or 70, men and women are losing bone mass at the same rate. Also, the absorption of calcium decreases in both males and females. As you already know from previous statements in this article above, the excessive bone loss causes the bone to become fragile, making it easier for it to fracture or break.

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Fractures of the hip are especially dangerous. Because such fractures tend to occur at older ages in men than in women, men who sustain hip fractures are more likely than women to die from complications. That’s pretty scary to think about. Thus, why it’s crucial to take care of your body the best you can and prevent falls, breaks, and fractures as much as possible. If you haven’t already, switching to a healthier diet and becoming more active will help. Please talk with your doctor about taking supplements if needed.

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10. There are two main types of osteoporosis.

There are two main types of osteoporosis. Doctors refer to them as primary and secondary. When someone has primary osteoporosis, the condition could be age-related bone loss. People call it senile osteoporosis. Sometimes, the cause is unknown. Thus, people may refer to that as idiopathic osteoporosis. However, people only use the term idiopathic osteoporosis for men less than 70 years of age. Of course, doctors assume age-related bone loss is the cause of osteoporosis in men over 70.

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Not everyone knows that most osteoporosis men have at least one, and sometimes even more than one, secondary cause. In secondary osteoporosis cases, certain lifestyle behaviors, medicines, or diseases cause the loss of bone mass. Other common causes of secondary osteoporosis in men include exposure to glucocorticoid medications and hypogonadism. Also, low testosterone levels, smoking, alcohol abuse, hypercalciuria, gastrointestinal disease, and immobilization. If you are a male and experience any osteoporosis symptoms and fit any of these criteria listed, you must talk with your doctor about it right away.

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9. There are other causes of secondary osteoporosis in men, as well. 

As listed above, many causes can lead to secondary osteoporosis in men. Not all were included, though. Here we will discuss a few more things that can lead up to it in men. Some immunosuppressive drugs can also cause bone loss, as well as anticonvulsant medications. Neoplastic disease, thyrotoxicosis, hyperparathyroidism, systemic mastocytosis, homocystinuria, and osteogenesis imperfecta are just a few of the other conditions that can cause secondary osteoporosis in men, as well. Make sure to keep an eye on your health if you have any of these diagnoses.

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You can also add chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD, asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, to the medical conditions list that causes this disease. Have you have noticed any symptoms such as bad posture, curving in your upper back, pain, bone fractures, and breakage due to small events happening? Bring it up with your doctor right away. That is especially true if you have any of these other health problems, as well. They may be connected. 

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8. There is a connection between glucocorticoid medications and bone loss. 

Glucocorticoid medications are steroids used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Bone loss is a prevalent side effect of these medications. The bone loss that these types of medications cause might be due to their direct effect on the bone reduced intestinal absorption of calcium. It could also be from a decrease in testosterone levels, muscle weakness or immobility, or most likely. Alternatively, it might be a combination of several of these factors put together. Sometimes, though, these types of medications cannot be avoided. So in the case of having to take them, be sure to keep an eye out for the bone loss.

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When people use glucocorticoid medications regularly, bone mass often decreases quickly and continuously. Most of the bone loss is in the vertebrae and ribs. People taking these types of medications should talk with their doctor about having a bone mineral density or BMD test. The doctor should schedule it soon after starting these medications. That is especially true if they are on high doses and are on them for an extended period or are on them quite frequently, as well. Men should also get tested to help monitor their testosterone levels since glucocorticoids often reduce the testosterone in the blood.

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7. Hypogonadism and what it means. 

As funny as the name may sound, it’s a bit more serious than that. That is because hypogonadism refers to abnormally low levels of sex hormones. It’s well known that the loss of estrogen causes osteoporosis in women. It’s important to know that reduced levels of sex hormones in men may also cause osteoporosis. Even though it’s natural for testosterone levels to decrease with age, however, there should not be a sudden drop in this hormone comparable to the drop in estrogen experienced by women during menopause.

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Medications like glucocorticoids, which have been discussed above, cancer treatments, especially for prostate cancer, and many other factors can also affect testosterone levels. Speak with your doctor to determine if testosterone replacement therapy may help prevent or at least slowdown bone loss. Its success depends on factors such as your age and how long your testosterone levels have been reduced. It’s not clear how long any beneficial effect of testosterone replacement will last, so doctors usually try to treat osteoporosis directly. Recent research also suggests that estrogen deficiency may also play a part in bone loss in men. 

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6. What about pregnancy and osteoporosis?

Pregnancy-associated osteoporosis is believed to be a rare condition. Doctors usually find an diagnose it in the third trimester or after birth. It often occurs during a woman’s first pregnancy, is usually only temporary, and does not happen again. Women affected by osteoporosis associated with pregnancy usually complain of back pain. They could also have a loss of height and have fractures in their vertebrae.

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Researchers don’t know if this condition occurs due to the pregnancy. It could be from other health problems the woman may have. Other things that may cause osteoporosis during pregnancy, such as genetic factors or steroid use, are studied. There is stress on a pregnant woman’s calcium supply. Furthermore, calcium leaves her body more often due to frequent urination. However, other changes, such as increases in estrogen and weight gain, may help bone density. As you can probably guess, there is much more to be learned about how a woman’s bone density is affected during and after pregnancy.

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5. This one is for women who are expecting or breastfeeding. 

It’s imperative to ensure that you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Vitamin D and calcium are both good for you and your baby’s growing bones. Since your baby takes in the nutrients you take into your body, if you don’t get enough nutrients needed, your baby’s calcium needs will be met by taking calcium from your bones, making them weak and brittle. Although most studies show that while some bone loss may occur during pregnancy, she usually regains it after giving birth.

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Some studies have shown that having several children, even as many as 10, doesn’t increase the chances of a woman getting osteoporosis later in life. Research even has suggested that each additional pregnancy may provide some protection from osteoporosis and broken bones. Moreover, just like pregnancy, breastfeeding can also cause some temporary bone loss. Luckily, though, their bone density appears to recover over time and shouldn’t cause long-term harm to a woman’s bone health. All women who are nursing or pregnant need to be sure they get enough vitamin D, calcium, and appropriate exercise to keep their bones healthy. 

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4. Osteoporosis can affect children, too. 

Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis, or IJO, is a primary condition with no known cause. Doctors use this diagnosis after they exclude other causes of juvenile osteoporosis. That includes primary diseases or medical therapies known to cause bone loss. This rare form of osteoporosis typically occurs in children who were previously healthy just before the onset of puberty. It happens around 7 with a range of 1 to 13 years. Fortunately, most children experience a complete recovery of bone loss.

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The first symptom of IJO is usually pain that occurs in the lower back, hips, and feet. This pain is often accompanied by difficulty walking. There may also be knee and ankle pain and fractures of the lower extremities. There may also be some physical malformations present, such as loss of height, a sunken chest, abnormal curvature of the upper spine, kyphosis, or a limp. If you notice your child is experiencing any one or more of these symptoms, you must tell their doctor right away so they can start treatment if necessary.

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3. There’s more to know about Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis. 

After the IJO has run its course, the physical malformations are sometimes reversible. There is no medical or surgical therapy for juvenile osteoporosis. However, there may be no need for treatment because the condition usually goes away spontaneously in some cases. Early diagnosis is still important, though. That way, you can take steps to protect the child’s spine and other bones from fracture and breakage until they are in remission. Doctors may recommend some physical therapy. Other things might include using crutches, avoiding dangerous weight-bearing activities, as well as other supportive care.

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A well-balanced diet rich in vitamin D and calcium is also vital for children. In severe, long-lasting cases of juvenile osteoporosis, doctors gave children some medications called bisphosphonates experimentally. Today, experts approve them for the treatment of adults with osteoporosis. However, most children experience a complete recovery of the bone tissue lost. Although you have impaired growth during the acute phase of the disorder, normal growth resumes, and afterward, catch-up growth often occurs. Unfortunately, in some severe cases, IJO can result in a permanent disability, such as a collapse of the upper spine’s rib cage or curvature.

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2. Medications to help treat osteoporosis can come with side effects of their own. 

Depending on an individual’s situation, a doctor will recommend specific treatments to help treat their osteoporosis. Treatments for osteoporosis are taken to help reduce the risk of fractured or broken bones and are becoming increasingly prescribed for people with a high risk of fracture or bone breakage. Although these medications may reduce the risk of broken bones in people with osteoporosis, those same medications can also cause side effects in some people. However, these side effects would depend on a lot of different factors.

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Some of the bisphosphonate tablets can cause inflammation to the food pipe, known as the oesophagus. Also, you can experience a sore throat, swallowing difficulties, chest pain, and musculoskeletal pain. Sometimes injectable bisphosphonates cause flu-like symptoms for a few days. Raloxifene, or evista and strontium ranelate, or protelos can slightly increase the risk of blood clots. To help reduce the risk of side effects with these medications, there are strict instructions regarding how the bisphosphonate tablets are to be taken. Furthermore, it is vital to follow strict instructions. 

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1. Doctors are continually developing new treatments. 

Scientists are continually developing new treatments that would help treat osteoporosis, and many are currently undergoing testing. Some of those treatments include anti-RANK ligand antibodies, such as denosumab. They affect bone breakdown by inhibiting a local hormone called RANK ligand, which affects the control of bone turnover. There is other research, which is examining growth hormones, and the role played by genes, and existing drugs are also being updated and improved. For example, Ibandronate or Bonviva is available as an intravenous injection, but it’s also available in a tablet.

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Many doctors will know about new treatments that are becoming more available to the public. If you want to know about something new, or have any questions about the one you may have already heard about, ask your doctor. They may have some suggestions on what to try to help treat your osteoporosis. Who knows, you might be able to help out with research in the future. Sometimes patients are asked to help participate in studies to help find new treatments that work best for others with similar illnesses as yourself. 

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