How to Know if I Have Osteoporosis

About 14 million Americans aged 50 years and above currently have osteoporosis. Including other age groups, the National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that some 54 million Americans suffer from this disease.   Osteoporosis is a bone disease that can cause the bones to lose density. In other words, bones lose their strength and mass. If you have osteoporosis, even a small fall or bump can result in a serious injury.   In this article, we’re going to learn more about what osteoporosis is, why it can happen, and symptoms that indicate you might have this disease. Knowing this can help you better manage your life and prepare for the future.    

What is osteoporosis, and why does it happen?

Bone is an organic material — therefore, it’s constantly growing. In healthy people, bones are continually being broken down and replaced with stronger stuff as time goes by.   This is the case for people with osteoporosis, as well. However, because of an imbalance, their bodies can’t keep up with the loss of their old bones. This way, they steadily lose bone mass over the years until their bones become so brittle that they can snap with a fall.   There are various causes for this imbalance, including significant loss of hormones (estrogen and testosterone) as we age, hormonal imbalances, lack of nutrients, and even a sedentary lifestyle.   Whatever the cause, the results are the same. Osteoporosis is a dreadful disease that significantly impacts one’s way of life, so it must be detected early.    

Symptoms of osteoporosis

The dreadful thing about osteoporosis is that it doesn’t always have any obvious symptoms, especially during the early stages. Without medical scans, you’d have to rely on indirect, outward indicators of osteoporosis. These could include:  
  • Worsening posture
  • Frequent fractures
  • Steady loss of height
  • Frequent and constant back pains
If you’re displaying these symptoms, you should immediately see your doctor.    

Diagnosis of osteoporosis

Today, the most reliable method we can diagnose the presence of osteoporosis is by measuring bone density through a dual-energy absorptiometry (DXA) scan.   These scans are usually paid out of pocket. However, your doctor can advise you whether you’re eligible for Medicare rebates. These qualifications typically include age (70 years or older), previous history of osteoporosis, or injury due to the disease.    

Do you have osteoporosis?

Without a DXA scan, the safest way to assess your risk of osteoporosis is through the lifestyle you’re living. If you are getting on in the years, have a history of hormonal imbalance, or have a sedentary lifestyle, your risks are bigger.   If, unfortunately, you’ve noticed the indirect symptoms discussed in the previous sections along with those risk factors, then it could be a significant sign that you need to see your doctor immediately.