Understanding Osteoporosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

Posted on April 25th, 2024 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by weakened bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and breaks. While often associated with aging, osteoporosis can affect people of all ages and genders. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of osteoporosis is essential for early detection and effective management. 

In this blog, the team at Orthopaedic Specialty Group delves into the key aspects of osteoporosis to provide you with valuable insights into this bone-weakening condition.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and porous, increasing the risk of fractures, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis often progresses silently, with no noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Several factors contribute to the development of osteoporosis, including:

  • Aging: Bone density naturally decreases with age, making older adults more susceptible to osteoporosis.
  • Hormonal Changes: Reduced estrogen levels in women after menopause and low testosterone levels in men can accelerate bone loss.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D can weaken bones and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Lifestyle Factors: A sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and long-term use of certain medications can all contribute to bone loss.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and hyperthyroidism can affect bone health and increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because it progresses without noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs. However, once bones have weakened significantly, symptoms may include:

  • Back Pain: Compression fractures in the spine can cause chronic back pain, loss of height, and a stooped posture.
  • Fractures: Fragile bones are more prone to fractures, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist. These fractures can occur with minimal trauma or even from everyday activities.
  • Loss of Height: Osteoporosis-related fractures in the spine can lead to a gradual loss of height over time.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Certain factors increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, including:

  • Age: The risk of osteoporosis increases with age, particularly after menopause in women.
  • Gender: Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than men, especially after menopause.
  • Family History: A family history of osteoporosis or fractures increases the likelihood of developing the condition.
  • Race and Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian individuals are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Low Body Weight: Being underweight or having a small body frame increases the risk of osteoporosis. 

Early detection, lifestyle modifications, and appropriate medical interventions are key to managing osteoporosis and maintaining bone strength as we age.

If you have concerns about your bone health or risk of osteoporosis, consult with an orthopaedic specialist for personalized evaluation and guidance.

For exceptional orthopaedic care, contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group in Connecticut!

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you struggle with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group on our website or give our professionals a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.