Osteoporosis: Cause and Diagnosis

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July 26, 2023

What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is caused by bone loss. Most often, the reason for bone loss is very low levels of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in building and maintaining your bones.

The most common cause of low estrogen levels is menopause. After menopause, your ovaries make very little estrogen.

Also, your risk of developing osteoporosis is higher if you did not develop strong bones when you were young. If poor eating, lack of physical activity, or another health problem prevents you from building bone mass early in life, you will have less bone mass to draw on later in life.

What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?

You may not have any symptoms of osteoporosis until you break a bone. A fracture can happen in any bone of the body- common in the hip, wrist, and spine. A fracture in these areas can happen during day-to-day activities like climbing stairs, lifting objects, or bending forward when you have osteoporosis.

Fractures in the vertebrae can cause it to collapse and bend forward. If this happens, you may get any or all of these symptoms:

⦁ Sloping shoulders

⦁ Curve in the back

⦁ Loss of height over time

⦁ A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

⦁ Back pain

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

The doctor does a bone density test to see how strong your bones are. A common test is a central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This test uses a very low amount of radiation.

The doctor may also use other screening tools to predict your risk of having low bone density or breaking a bone.

I will be talking further about osteoporosis in the upcoming blog. Stay connected.


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