Content Summary

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects 8 million American women and 2 million American men. As many as 50 percent of women will develop the disease in their lifetime, and Caucasians and Asians are more likely to develop it than people of other races. Post-menopausal women are the ones most at risk, as bone mass decreases which causes bones to be more susceptible to fracture. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at osteoporosis causes, tests, and treatments.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when bone is constantly being broken down by cells called osteoclasts faster than it can be reabsorbed and replaced by cells called osteoblasts. This process naturally speeds up with age, but there are certain lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

These include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, low calcium intake, low levels of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet. Additionally, some medications can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb calcium.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis symptoms do not occur when you first develop the disease.  For this reason, it is called the “silent epidemic.”  It sneaks up on you until one day you have a fracture or broken bone.  But over time, you will begin to see various osteoporosis symptoms.

These include:

· Back pain
· Slumped posture
· Bone fracture and breaks
· Compression fractures

Osteoporosis is caused when bone mass decreases.  This results in the bones to be more susceptible to fracture. Bone is constantly being broken down and reabsorbed by cells which are osteoclasts, and then rebuilt by other cells called osteoblasts. As you age, more bone is reabsorbed than replaced.

One of the first osteoporosis symptoms is back pain.  Many patients ignore this or confuse it with the onset of arthritis.  But, if you are experiencing back pain, ask your doctor whether a bone density scan is warranted.

You will often see people with osteoporosis who have a loss of height or slumped posture.  Some people with osteoporosis symptoms lose height and become stooped with a bent back which is called a dowager's hump.  This occurs because the bones of the spine, the vertebrae, gradually collapse within themselves and become compressed.

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When this happens, it is called a compression or crush fracture. People with osteoporosis may also break other bones, particularly the hip and wrist. Hip and wrist fractures often happen when a person with osteoporosis falls. A broken hip is especially serious because it can lead to loss of independence.  It can also lead to loss of function and to serious and even life-threatening problems.

Compression fractures in the spine can cause severe back pain.  This is generally because of crush fractures. Too often osteoporosis becomes apparent in dramatic fashion: a bone breaks.  This can include vertebra, hip, forearm, or any bony site.  These fractures aren’t the result of jumping off a building; they follow relatively minor trauma such as bending over, lifting, jumping, or falling from the standing position.

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However, it should be noted that all broken bones in people with osteoporosis are serious.  That is because bones that are less dense tend to heal slowly and sometimes incompletely. Additionally, if osteoporosis patients break one bone, they tend to break other bones.

If you suspect that you have osteoporosis symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.  While there is no cure, there are treatments including diet changes, supplements, exercise, and medications.

Your doctor will probably want to get a bone density scan.  Even if you do not have full blown osteoporosis, this will give you a baseline for monitoring the condition in the future.

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Don’t wait.  Get your osteoporosis symptoms checked out right away!!!

What are the Risk Factors of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis happens because an imbalance occurs between new bone formation and old bone resorption. Osteoporosis causes when the body fails to form enough new bone, or too much old bone is reabsorbed, or both. Calcium and phosphate are two essential minerals for normal bone formation.

Calcium is also essential for the heart, brain, and other organs to function properly.  To keep those critical organs functioning, the body may reabsorb calcium from the bones for their use. Thus, the bones may become weaker, resulting in brittle and fragile bones that can break easily.

The leading osteoporosis cause is a lack of certain hormones, especially estrogen in women and androgen in men. Women over 60 are frequently diagnosed with the disease. When women hit menopause, they have lower estrogen levels which increases their risk for osteoporosis.

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Other osteoporosis causes include overuse of corticosteroids (Cushing syndrome), thyroid problems, lack of muscle use, bone cancer, certain genetic disorders, use of certain medications, and problems such as low calcium in the diet.

Risk factors include gender (women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men), race (whites and Asians are more likely to develop the disease), post-menopausal condition, lack of regular periods, cigarette smoking, anorexia or bulimia, heavy alcohol consumption, use of corticosteroids, and use of anti-convulsant.

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Early in the course of the disease, often osteoporosis causes no symptoms. Later, there may be dull pain in the bones or muscles particularly in the lower back or neck.

As the disease progresses, sharp pains may develop suddenly. It may be made worsened by activity that puts weight on the area.  The area may also be tender.  The pain generally begins to subside in one week but may linger on for more than 3 months.

Women who are past menopause and have constant pain in areas such as neck or lower back, should consult their doctor for further evaluation including risk assessment and bone density scanning.

How Do I Test for Osteoporosis?

The most common way to diagnose osteoporosis is through a bone density scan which measures the amount of minerals in your bones and compares it to the average amount in healthy adults. Other tests such as blood tests or urine tests may also be used depending on your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor might also order X-rays or CT scans if you have recently experienced a fracture that could indicate osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Medicine  the Types of Treatments for the Condition

Osteoporosis medicine is prescribed when you come down with the disease. Osteoporosis is a disease which makes your bones brittle and susceptible to fractures and breaks.  It is a serious condition.  20 percent of people who suffer from a spinal break due to osteoporosis will die within a year.  That is why you want to take your osteoporosis medicine.

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Post menopausal white and Asian women are the groups most at risk for the condition.  8 million women suffer from osteoporosis and 2 million men do.  It is estimated that 50 percent of women will come down with the disease at some point in their lives.

Osteoporosis has no cure but it can be treated.  Osteoporosis medicine includes:

· Actinol – is a bisphosphonate marketed by Aventis.  Actinol is a prescription medication that prevents and treats postmenopausal osteoporosis. It is the only oral monthly osteoporosis treatment that has been FDA approved to help prevent fractures at both the spine and other areas where fractures commonly occur

· Boniva – is another bisphosphonate marketed by Roche labortories.  It comes in two forms: a tablet and an injection.  There are specific guidelines for taking this once a month osteoporosis medication.

· Reclase – another bisphosphonate.  It is marketed by Novartis.  Reclast is the only FDA-approved, once-a-year treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis. One annual dose, combined with daily calcium and vitamin D, will help to increase bone density, protecting and strengthening your bones.

· Evistra – marketed by Eli Lilly, is prescribed to treat and prevent osteoporosis, the brittle-bone disease that strikes some women after menopause.  It is a selective estrogen receptor modulator

· Forteo – also marketed by Eli Lilly, is a synthetic form of parathyroid hormone Forteo is supplied in a disposable pen device that can be used for up to 28 days to give once-daily self-administered injections. Forteo is available in a 20 microgram (mcg) dose and should be taken for a period of up to 24 months.

There are benefits and risks of Forteo.  Osteoporosis patients should weigh the pros and cons before deciding to take the medication.  It is one of the newest cures for the disease, and it has its backers and detractors.  Forteo Osteoporosis cures can be appropriate for some people under some circumstances.

There are two main objections to Forteo osetoporosis medication.  The first is that it might cause a rare form of cancer known as osteosarcoma.  The other is that it is quite expensive.

· Fosamax – is a Aminobisphosphonate marketed by Merek.  It must be taken exactly as prescribed and can be lifestyle inhibiting.  However, it is a very effective osteoporosis medicine.

Contact your doctor to see which osteoporosis treatment is right for you.  When you have the illness, it is important to take your osteoporosis medicine

How to Prevent Osteoporosis with Exercises

If you are an older adult, you should begin doing osteoporosis exercises.  Many people with low bone density worry that doing any exercise might lead to a fracture.  But, the reality is that using your muscles can actually help you protect your bones.  Here are some osteoporosis exercises that can help you prevent broken bones.

People who have always been physically active are less likely to have bone problems later in life.  However, that doesn’t mean that people who were couch potatoes in middle age shouldn’t take up osteoporosis exercises when the condition first manifests itself.

In women, after menopause, the pace of bone loss increases.  At that point, starting an exercise program is critical.  It will increase your muscle strength, improve your balance and help you avoid falls — and it may keep your bones from getting weaker.  Other benefits of osteoporosis exercises include increasing your ability to carry out daily tasks and activities, maintaining or improving your posture, relieving or lessening pain, and increasing your sense of well-being

There are Three Types of Osteoporosis Exercises

The first is strength training.  Strength training can include using weights, weight machines, resistance bands or doing water exercises to strengthen the muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine. Strength training may work directly on your bones to slow mineral loss as well.

Osteoporosis exercises that gently stretch your upper back, strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades and improve your posture can all help to reduce harmful stress on your bones and maintain bone density.

The next area is weight bearing aerobic exercises.  These involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight.  Walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing and gardening are all examples of these kinds of osteoporosis exercises.

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Finally, there are flexibility exercises.  When you can move your joints through their full range of motion, it helps you maintain good balance and prevent muscle injury.  Additionally, flexibility helps you maintain your posture, which is essential in avoiding osteoporosis.

The best osteoporosis exercises in this category are various forms of  stretching. Tai Chi and Yoga are excellent forms of exercise in this category.  However, you should avoid positions may put excessive stress on the bones in your spine.  These place you at greater risk of a compression fracture.


You should also avoid traditional “high school gym” kinds of exercises.  These include high impact exercises such as jumping, running, or jogging which can increase compression in your spine and lower extremities and can lead to fractures in weakened bones.  Also exercises in which you bend forward and twist your waist should be avoided.  These include touching your toes, doing sit-ups or using a rowing machine.

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How to Prevent Osteoporosis?

Preventing or dealing with milder symptoms of osteoporosis varies depending on your individual situation but typically includes lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or increasing your physical activity level; dietary changes such as increasing your calcium intake; or medications like bisphosphonates (which slow down bone loss) or teriparatide (which helps rebuild bone). Your doctor may also recommend vitamin D supplements or hormone therapy if appropriate for you.


Osteoporosis is a serious condition that affects millions of Americans each year especially post-menopausal women and can lead to fractures and other debilitating health issues if left untreated. While there is no way to completely prevent osteoporosis, understanding its causes and making lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk.

Additionally, regular screenings with a doctor can help ensure that any underlying issues are properly identified early enough so they can be treated before they become more serious problems. If you think you may have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it due to family history or other factors, talking with your doctor about screening options is important for maintaining good health and quality of life into old age.

Thank You for Reading!
Be Healthy & Happy!


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