Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that can have serious complications. It can be made worse by a variety of medical conditions and medications. It is most common in women past the age of menopause, but it can also affect younger women and men. Here are some of the complications of osteoporosis and things you can do to protect your bones when you have the condition.
Complications Of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can cause chronic back pain. Your bones become less dense and weak when you have this condition, and that can cause deterioration of the structures in your spine. When the discs in your spine shift, they may compress a nerve and cause pain when you move a certain way. Changes to the bones of your spine may even affect your posture.
You might develop a curved spine and be unable to hold an erect posture. One of the more serious consequences of osteoporosis is a bone fracture. Your bones fracture more easily, and the risk of hip fracture is increased. A hip fracture can be difficult to recover from when you become elderly. While a hip fracture is common, the bones in your spine are more delicate too. You might cause a fracture just by sneezing. Fractures in your spine can cause a lot of pain.
Lifestyle Changes That Protect Your Bones
When you have osteoporosis, it's important to reduce your risk of falling as much as you can. This may include making changes to your home, such as getting rid of throw rugs and other tripping hazards. You may need to walk with a cane or walker to help maintain your balance. Smoking is linked to osteoporosis as is alcohol consumption.
You may want to avoid these habits and focus on eating a healthy diet rich in calcium, and vitamin D. Exercise may help protect your bones too. While you may not want to take up aggressive running that causes further damage to your bones, some weight bearing exercise might make your bones stronger. Exercise can also strengthen your muscles and improve your balance which could help you prevent falling.
Medical Treatments For Osteoporosis
You want to work with your doctor when you have osteoporosis so you can protect your bones from fractures. Treatments may slow down the progression of your condition, and in some cases, the treatments may increase bone density. Treatments for osteoporosis include prescription medications and procedures to repair the damage. Hormone replacements might be considered in the early years of menopause. Other drugs are made specifically for osteoporosis, and they work to slow down the resorption of calcium from the bones.
Some medication is taken daily while some osteoporosis medication is taken once per year. The medication is taken orally, by IV, or with a patch. Your doctor has to consider your medical history when determining the right medication to give. While surgical procedures can't repair osteoporosis, they can repair the damaged caused by the fractures. Compression fractures of the spine may heal by themselves, but when you're in a lot of pain, your doctor may repair the damage by injecting bone cement into the fracture to stabilize it and stop nerve irritation.
If you have a family history of osteoporosis or if you suspect you might have it, let your doctor know so you can be checked with a bone scan that measures the density of your bones. Early detection and treatment may help you avoid a hip or spine fracture.