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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