Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is commonly known as brittle bone syndrome and impacts an estimated 3 million people per year in the United States alone. Osteoporosis is a condition that involves the reduction of bone density. This is not to be confused with osteopenia, which is more like the midway point between healthy bones and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a dangerous condition because it creates brittle bones more likely to fracture or break. It occurs in both men and women, but more commonly in women, especially during menopause.

back pain

Osteoporosis Symptoms

Stooped Posture

The effects of osteoporosis are slow and gradual, which is why your changing posture might be as well. Since it commonly affects the spinal column, an individual’s declining posture could be one noticeable symptom. A stooped or hunched over posture is commonly observed in individuals with osteoporosis, due to a lack of bone density in the spinal column. This increases risk factors for postural instability and falls.

Loss of Height

Loss of height may seem like an extremely odd symptom, but with osteoporosis, it’s possible. Since it decreases the density of bones, vertebral osteoporosis is highly likely. This means if the vertebrae become less dense and therefore smaller, it’ll appear as though an individual has lost height. Loss of height is another very gradual symptom often recorded over the course of time and perhaps not when first diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Back Pain

One of the worst symptoms is back pain. Back pain with osteoporosis is due to weakening vertebrae and, in some cases, vertebral fractures. Severe back pain can limit daily function and overall quality of life. It is a common symptom, but ranges in severity.

Easily Broken Bones

The hardest part about living with osteoporosis is that brittle bones make an individual highly susceptible to breaks and fractures. Sometimes even the slightest fall can cause a fracture, thus making it difficult to live everyday life. The most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are the femoral neck, fractures of the vertebrae and lumbar and thoracic vertebral fractures.

Other Symptoms

The symptoms listed above are the most common signs of osteoporosis. Loss of height and easily broken bones are especially noticeable, but since this is a progressive disease, these symptoms may not be apparent immediately. Other minor symptoms can include mood changes due to worsening condition. If you suspect osteoporosis, then you should talk with your doctor.


Osteoporosis Causes

Loss of Bone Mass

Loss of bone mass or bone loss is exactly what it sounds like. In technical terms, it’s when the cellular events of bone formation are more than the quantity of bone formation. Loss of bone mass is a normal, human process, but excessive bone loss is the leading cause of osteoporosis. This can increase mortality, morbidity and mobility and decrease overall quality of life.

Loss of Bone Mass

As mentioned above, loss of bone is a natural occurrence that increases with age. Thus, it makes aging a common cause of osteoporosis. In addition, aging for females includes menopause, which significantly increases the risk for loss of bone because menopause reduces the ability to fight osteoporosis.

Family History

Osteoporosis is one of the conditions that can easily be linked to family history. In fact, not only does it increase the occurrence of osteoporosis, but those with a family history also show increased bone mineral density than those without. Higher loss of bone mineral density can lead to even weaker bones and increased risk of fractures.

Low Calcium Intake


Other Causes

Although family history and age are particularly common causes of osteoporosis, there are other risk factors that may play a role. For example, lowered sex hormones caused by a decrease in estrogen specifically during menopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, ethnicity seems to play a role making it more likely for Caucasian and Asian people to develop the condition. Lastly, a history of commonly fractured bones increases the likelihood of having osteoporosis.

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Osteoporosis Supplements and Remedies

Vitamin D

Vitamin Dvitamin D

Vitamin K

Vitamin KVitamin K

Agemicrograms/dayChildren under 1875Women 19+90Men 19+120Women pregnant or breastfeeding (19-50)90Women pregnant or breastfeeding (under 19)75

Calcium for Osteoporosis




Other Remedies and Supplements

Preventing osteoporosis and decreasing its severity is often about taking health precautions beforehand. Although a healthy diet may not help when family history is involved, it’s still wise to consume recommended amounts of vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and even vitamin K. Another natural remedy is physical exercise/activity. Even something as simple as brisk walking can improve the effects of osteoporosis by helping build bone mass, and increasing balance and flexibility.

The Bottom Line

Osteoporosis is no mystery. Several million more people are affected every year. When it comes to preventing the condition, it all comes down to proper bone health, which is why these nutrients are so beneficial. Decreased bone strength from osteoporosis can severely hinder your quality of life by limiting mobility and living in constant pain. Do the most for your bones and take care of them proactively.

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