The word “osteoporosis” is from the Greek terms for “porous bones”.
Osteoporosis is a part of frailty syndrome.
Who is most at risk?
- Those with a family history of osteoporosis, or a history of family members who have had broken bones from minor injuries.
- Women with lower estrogen levels. Two reasons for lower estrogen levels include the estrogen level drop after menopause, or ovaries having been removed.
- Men with decreased testosterone
- Women are at higher risk than men. Currently, in America, approximately 8 million women and 2 million men have an osteoporosis diagnosis.
- In Europe, 22 million women and 5.5 million men had osteoporosis in 2010, indicating European women are higher risk than American women.
- Persons who have taken long-term steroid medicines, like those used for asthma or COPD.
- Whites and those of Southeast Asian descent are the highest at risk. African and Hispanic races still have significant risk, but not as high.
- Persons with an improper diet in childhood.
- People with very small body frames or who are exceptionally thin are higher risk as they often have less bone mass.
- People with scoliosisof unknown cause.
- Low-level exposure to heavy metals is associated with an increased loss of bone mineral density.
- Persons who have a history of alcohol abuse.
- Persons who have a history of anorexia nervosa.
How can you know?
In the early stages you probably won’t have symptoms! Osteoporosis is known as the “silent crippler” as most people don’t know they have it till it is too late.
- Measure your height and compare the results with past measurements. Loss of height might be an indication.
- Stooped posture can also be an indication. (Multiple vertebral fractures lead to a stooped posture).
- Chronic pain resulting in reduced mobility.
- Your family’s health history.
- Your doctor may suggest a bone density test. Even early on, lower-than-normal bone mass (called osteopenia) may be seen and this sometimes progresses to osteoporosis.
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