• Mark N. Perlmutter, MS, MD

5 Alarming Symptoms of Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone density and quality are reduced. It literally means “bones with holes.” As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased.

Osteoporosis | Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

5 Alarming Signs and Symptoms

  1. Receding Gums

  2. Brittle Fingernails

  3. Easy Fractures

  4. Back and Neck Pain

  5. Curved or Stooped Spine

Receding Gums

As bone loss is directly related to oral and dental health, the loss of bone density in the jawbone can make it easier for bacteria to penetrate and affect the bone. This leads to gum disease that results in receding gums. So next time you give your pearly whites a scrub, take a moment to look around and notice any changes to your gumline.


Brittle Fingernails

Both nails and bones consist of disulphide bonds that cause proteins to stick to one another. Nail and bone health are directly related to high bone density and osteoporosis results in weak fingernails, which often break after a hand wash or any other manual work can be signs that you have low bone mineral density.


Easy Fractures

The most common early warning sign of osteoporosis is easy fractures. If your bones start become fragile and brittle you might develop a fracture much more easily than that of earlier days (mostly pre-menopausal period). A bone loss usually results in fracture due to mild trauma like tripping, falling, hitting an object etc. In some severe osteoporosis cases, fractures can even be triggered by a strong sneeze or cough.


Back and Neck Pain

Regular muscle cramps and pain are a well-known early symptom of osteoporosis. As Vitamin-D is the most important bone builder, its deficiency causes back or neck pain and cramps. But cramps that occur at night often signify that the calcium, magnesium, and/or potassium levels in blood have dropped too low. If this situation were to persist over time, excessive bone loss could occur.


The pain caused by spinal osteoporosis can affect many activities of your daily living. The pain can range from a sudden, sharp, and severe pain from walking or simply standing, to pain and difficulty when you twist, turn, or bend.


Curved or Stooped Spine

As we saw above, the decrease in bone minerals causes the spine to become brittle, which leads to a condition called kyphosis in which the spine curves and stoops over time. If untreated, the spinal bones continue to weaken, worsens resulting in compression fractures.


For some people, kyphosis causes constant pain. This pain happens when the spine becomes more curved and the muscles, tendons, and ligament of the back are strained and stretched. Sometimes nerves are also pinched.


Takeaway

There are things you should do at any age to prevent weakened bones.

Our genes are responsible for determining our height and the strength of our skeleton, but lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise influence how healthy our bones are. Having a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can keep your bones with rich minerals. Eating Calcium-rich foods and absorbing enough Vitamin-D is essential for your bone health.


Avoiding smoking and alcohol can help your body to recover back quickly and even limiting caffeine consumption can help to some extent. Weight-bearing exercises are best for your bones. They are the ones that force your body to work against gravity as you move. That prompts the body to make new bone. Weight-bearing exercises include: Strength training as it is a key to prevent osteoporosis. Aquatic therapy will be very helpful for the one who suffers from osteoporosis.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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