What is Osteoporosis?
If you know what this is, you probably already have it or someone in your family does. So, You may be wondering what is osteoporosis (OP)? In short, it’s a weakening of the bones where they are becoming less dense. If you took a crosssection of a healthy bone, you will find that there are small holes throughout it; however, when you have OP, these holes get larger and larger (less density) causing your bones to more easily fracture or break.
So what causes osteoporosis (OP)?
I would like to share a bit about this because I recently received a diagnosis of severe osteoporosis. I was shocked. Being a dairy farmer’s girl, I have always loved my dairy foods. And even though it has been many years since I was on the farm, I still eat plenty of it. I have also, always had great posture. So why did my bones get weaker? What else may have been causing the problem?
Reminder: I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.
I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.Mandy
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Typically there are no symptoms of osteoporosis until you actually fracture or break a bone. I have not broken any bones. Thus, the reason that I was so taken by surprise. So, I am placing this before you: to help you avoid a severe problem like mine. Signs that you do may have osteoporosis are 1) back pain (fractured or collapsed vertebra) 2) loss of height 3) a stooped posture 4) a bone breaks more easily than one would expect.
So How Do I Know I am at Risk?
Our body is in a constant state of renewal. as old bone cells break down, new bone is made. But as we grow older this process slows down. There are several things that could be eating away at your bones, besides not having enough calcium intake. Some of us are just born with stronger bones or perhaps our nutrition as a child was better than others. Let’s look at some of the things that can affect our bone density.
- Your Sex. 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men will break a bone in their lifetime due to it. For women this number is greater in incidence than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined.
- Age. As the statistics above prove, the older you get the more likely you have osteoporosis.
- Race. You are risk is greater if you are Non-Hispanic Caucasian or Asian. 54 million Americans, (half of all adults over 50) are at risk of breaking a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.
- Family History. If you have a parent or sibling with osteoporosis, then you are at greater risk. My mother had it as well as my younger sister.
- Body frame size. If you have a small body frame, guess what? yep! You are at higher risk because you have less bone density to draw from as you age. That’s me. 🙁
I qualify under every one of these demographics and we haven’t even begun to talk about lifestyle and health issues.
The following diseases tend to cause bone loss for one reason or another. It’s likely that it has to do with the ability to get exercise or poor nutrition; such as, not getting enough calcium or it not being absorbed. I have found that nearly all diseases are rampant because of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Sugar feeds disease.
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hyperthyroidism or uncontroled thyroid disease
- Celiac Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
If you have any of the above diseases, especially if you are over 50 years of age. You need to talk with your doctor about having a DEXA Bone Density Scan. This is a none evasive test like an MRI or CT scan. This will tell whether you are losing bone density.
Bad to The Bone
The American Bone Health website offers a list of medications that may be putting your bones at risk. Sometimes, we don’t have much choice but to use the drugs, but we need to be concerned if we are on these meds for a long period of time. When I received my diagnosis, I found a list of drugs that cause bone loss. Four of my medications are on that list. Here’s the list from the American Bone Health people.
The most common medications that can harm your bones include:
- High doses of cortisone-like pills, such as prednisone
- High doses of thyroid medications
- Drugs that can reduce your estrogen or androgen levels
- Certain diabetes medications
- Certain stomach medications such as antacids that contain aluminum or proton pump inhibitors
- Certain antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin receptor uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s)
- Some blood thinners and anticoagulants
- Loop diuretics
- Some anti-convulsive medications
If you are taking any of these, please stay aware of your bone health. Take calcium with vitamind3. Exercise 30 minutes a day or as much as you are able. Work with your doctor to have a bone density scan occasionally. Visit the American Bone Health webpage for more suggestions.
There are other risk factors having to do with lifestyle; such as, being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking. Use the Fracture Risk Calculator to learn more.
What Can I Do About It?
There is much more information at American Bone Health, including a Fracture Risk Calculator. Go check it out! You can also check the other website mentioned below for more help on how to have healthy bones.
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.