Like many other chronic conditions, Osteoporosis takes years to develop. Many people are even unaware that they are getting it because they don't have symptoms. This week, Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell talks about risk factors and how to prevent bone loss.
Simply put, osteoporosis robs bones of their strength, making them fragile and unable to sustain the weight of the structures they support. It can lead to increased risk of fractures of the spine, hip and wrist.
There are 44 million Americans who have osteoporosis, according to the American College of Physicians, and an additional 34 million Americans have low bone mass, predisposing them to the disease over time.
Because there are no obvious symptoms, doctors look for various factors to identify those who might be at risk for developing weak bones. Knowing the risk factors for osteoporosis can help you determine whether you may be predisposed.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
·Increased age (especially post-menopausal women)
·Low body weight (lean people)
·Family history of the disease
·Diet low in calcium
·Low vitamin D levels
·A history of corticosteroids use
Although these traits are associated with an increased risk of developing the disease, even folks who don't have them still may get it.
Anyone who breaks a bone from mild trauma and doesn't have the usual risk factors should be evaluated for osteoporosis. When it comes to decreased bone strength, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.