Osteoporosis: Symptoms & Types

Osteoporosis [1] is a disease in which there is a decrease in bone mass, which causes bones to become more fragile, increasing the risk of fracture. In most cases, osteoporosis does not lead to the appearance of signs or symptoms, with the diagnosis being made after the occurrence of fractures, for example.

Osteoporosis is very associated with aging [2] since over the years the body gradually loses its ability to metabolize and absorb calcium, for example. However, some lifestyle habits can also influence the occurrence of osteoporosis, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Although this disease has no cure, treatment can be done with the aim of improving the person’s quality of life and reducing the risk of fractures and associated diseases. It is important that the person has a healthy lifestyle, with the practice of regular physical exercises, and it may also be recommended by the doctor to use supplements or medications that help in the process of calcium reabsorption and formation of bone mass.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

In most cases, osteoporosis does not cause specific symptoms, but as the bones of people who have osteoporosis become fragile and lose strength due to the reduction of calcium and phosphorus in the body, small fractures can occur. These fractures occur mainly in the vertebrae, the thigh and wrist bones and can cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the spine: it arises especially due to a fracture in one or more vertebrae, and it can be pain that is prickly in the back and, in some cases, improve when lying down or when sitting down; Such fractures can be quite painful because the collapsing vertebrae [3] can pinch the nerve fibers that emanate out of the spinal cord. Symptoms of pain can range from mild tenderness to distressing pain.
  • Tingling in the legs: happens when a fracture of the vertebrae reaches the spinal cord;
  • Height decrease: This occurs when fractures in the spine wear out the part of cartilage that is between the vertebrae, with a reduction of about 4 cm; Compression fracture of the spine which leads to height decrease is one of the most noticeable symptoms of osteoporosis in later stages.
  • Bent posture: happens in more advanced cases of osteoporosis due to some fracture or degeneration of the vertebrae in the spine. A stooped spine or back is referred to as kyphosis.

    Kyphosis may provoke back pain and neck pain and may even significantly impact respiratory function such as breathing as a result of the extra tension on the airways and limited expansion of the lungs.

In addition, fractures caused by osteoporosis can arise after a fall or some physical effort, so it is necessary to take measures to prevent these falls, such as using non-slip shoes. Some fractures due to osteoporosis can even be caused by the slightest force excretion such as a cough or strong sneeze.