According to the Cleveland Clinic, osteoporosis, which means ‘porous bone,’ is a disease that weakens bones and increases a person’s risk of sudden bone fractures.
The signs and symptoms of osteoporosis are often subtle or even nonexistent until the disease progresses, meaning that some patients don’t get diagnosed until bones weaken to the point of a painful breakage. The Cleveland Clinic states that fractures happen most frequently in the hip, wrist, and spine, and women are four times more likely to develop the disease than men.
As is true for many diseases, early diagnosis and treatment is key to successful treatment for osteoporosis, so it is crucial to know the warning signs to be sure they are addressed as soon as possible.
According to Cleveland Clinic, the main symptoms of osteoporosis are as follows:
- Loss of height (“shrinking” at least an inch)
- Change in posture, including hunching or bending forward
- Shortness of breath as compressed disks results in a smaller lung capacity
- Bone fractures
- Lower back pain
Risk factors for developing osteoporosis include older age, Caucasian and Asian ethnicity, small body frame and low weight, and family history.
Treatment for the disease can include exercise, vitamin and mineral supplements, and medications.
For more information on osteoporosis, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, visit www.ClevelandClinic.org.