As you likely know, osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle. As we grow older, it can be the most common cause of broken bones. With osteoporosis, bones can become so weak and brittle that fractures may occur with even mild stresses, such as coughing or bending over. The initial symptoms are subtle. People can have significant bone loss without even knowing it – until weakening bones lead to more significant issues including fractures, back pain, or changes in posture.
The older you are, the greater your chance of having osteoporosis. Given that on average, women’s bones are thinner than men’s, and that after menopause, bone density rapidly declines, osteoporosis tends to affect far more women than men in the United States. However, nearly a quarter of men over the age of 50 also end up with osteoporosis-related fractures. We are all vulnerable.
One of the primary goals of Main Line Spine’s bone health program is to prevent or slow the symptoms of osteoporosis and improve your quality of life. Click HERE to find out more about this program. Click below to gain more in-depth information on osteoporosis.
Video Primer: Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis In Depth
Our bones are living tissue and constantly changing. From the moment of birth until young adulthood, bones are developing and strengthening. Our bones are at their most dense—peak bone mass—around age 30. After that, most people lose more bone mass than they gain.
For people with osteoporosis, bone loss outpaces the growth of new bone. Calcium and other minerals stored in your bones also decrease. Osteoporosis in fact means “porous bones.” All this makes our bones more fragile and thus susceptible to breaking. And we can lose height as our spine shrinks due to vertebrae compressing. Other skeletal changes can occur.
Osteoporosis can affect both males and females, but it is most likely to occur in women after menopause, because of the sudden decrease in estrogen, the hormone that normally protects against osteoporosis.
How likely you are to develop osteoporosis and its severity partially depends on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
Small-framed, thin women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Heredity plays a role, as does ethnicity. It is more common among non-Latino whites and Asians, though African-Americans and Latinos may still be at risk. Some conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and hormonal disorders are also linked to bone loss.
Preventive methods exist to prevent or slow the onset of osteoporosis and a variety of treatments available that are designed to maximize bone strength and minimize fracture risk. The Main Line Spine Bone Health program is specially designed to create an optimal approach to treating osteoporosis for each individual.