Just think about all the times you tripped as a kid. After shedding a few tears and picking out your favorite color of band-aid, you probably felt good as new. Due to osteoporosis, taking a fall as an older adult is sometimes a much different story. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Another 44 million have low bone density, which is one of the highest risk factors of osteoporosis (source). Why is it such a common problem? Knowing the causes of osteoporosis can help you determine whether or not you have the condition.
Causes of Osteoporosis
What Is Osteoporosis?
It’s certainly possible to be familiar with the term osteoporosis and still not know exactly what it is and how it impacts the body. Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density decreases. It leads to abnormally fragile and porous bones that are compressible, similar to a sponge (source). As you can imagine, this condition can make your bones much more susceptible to fractures.
Unfortunately, there are typically no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. However, if your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might experience these symptoms:
- Back pain
- Gradual loss of height
- Bent posture
- A bone fracture after a minor fall
Did you know that your bones renew themselves? Old bone is constantly being broken down to make way for new bone. Young bodies make new bone faster than they break down old bones, which is while your bone mass is able to increase from your infant stage through early adulthood. After age 30, you start to lose bone mass faster than your body can create it. If you attained extra bone mass in your youth, you’ll be less likely to develop osteoporosis.
Here are some indicators that you might be at risk for developing osteoporosis:
- Age: Most people’s bone density peaks around age 30, and these bones gradually lose their mass. Two ways you can slow down this natural aging process is by doing strength training and loading your diet with calcium and vitamin D.
- Gender: Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. In fact, out of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about 80 percent are women. This is partly because women typically have lighter bones and longer lifespans than men (source).
- Genetics: Just like red hair or great skin, you’re more likely to get osteoporosis if it runs in the family.
- Body Structure and Shape: If you’re on the petite side, you could have a higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Smaller people typically have less bone to lose than people with more body weight and larger frames.
- Ethnicity: Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to have osteoporosis than women of other ethnic backgrounds.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis commonly develop osteoporosis.
- Medications: Taking certain medications can put you at a higher risk, especially steroids such as prednisone.
- Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption: Heavy drinking and smoking are certainly not good for your overall health, and these habits also make your bones more susceptible to fractures.
Knowing the causes of osteoporosis is key to preventing the condition. If you suspect that you might have osteoporosis, visit your doctor for more information.
At Springhouse Village, we’re committed to providing a friendly, healthy atmosphere where our residents can thrive. Whether it’s encouraging our residents to enjoy the benefits of shopping at local farmers markets, providing places where they can practice and share their hobbies, or creating continuing education opportunities by connecting with local schools, we are continually striving to help our residents prosper. To learn about the many things we do to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact Springhouse Village today.