Osteoporosis is a condition that is often related with the normal aging process. It is also one that is primarily perceived as a women’s health issue. You may not be aware of the detrimental effect that osteoporosis can have on spinal health and the risk of spinal conditions. Here, we discuss what osteoporosis is, who is at risk, and what can be done to preserve spine health.
What is Osteoporosis?
This bone condition relates to the overall strength of the bones. When we view bone tissue under a microscope, what we see is a honeycomb structure. Bone cells regenerate all the time to meet the needs of the body. When bone cells do not grow as much or as quickly as needed, the spaces in the honeycomb structure become larger. With more space and less bone tissue, weakness is inevitable. Studies suggest that the deterioration of bone density and resiliency may begin with a lack of vitamin D and calcium or with hormonal changes, which is why women are often afflicted with this problem.
Osteoporosis is not a Women’s Problem Only
Every person has a risk for osteoporosis, especially older individuals. Unfortunately, the first symptom of this condition is often a bone fracture. However, if osteoporosis occurs in the spine, chronic back pain may be an early warning sign. If pain is persistent, it is beneficial to obtain a proper medical examination. Osteoporosis of the spine could result in a spinal fracture. This is not a rare occurrence, it happens to more than 700,000 Americans each year.
According to statistics, approximately half of all women over fifty will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis. The statistic is lower in men, 25 percent, due to their inherently larger bone structure.
If you are struggling to understand why your back hurts often with no obvious trigger, talk with your doctor about the possibility of osteoporosis.
Start Protecting Your Bones Now
WE mentioned that osteoporosis is perceived as a normal age-related condition. It’s not. Whether you are forty-five or eighty-five, there is a lot you can do to promote good bone health. To do so, make sure you:
- Speak with your doctor about your calcium levels.
- Promote strong bones by consuming a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium. This is where lab testing can be highly beneficial.
- Limit or avoid alcohol consumption and avoid smoking.