How Osteoporosis Affects Your Body

Osteoporosis, South Texas Spinal Clinic

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to deteriorate, making you more susceptible to debilitating bone fractures. Your bones are living entities; bone cells constantly die, and new cells grow. But if you have osteoporosis, your body doesn’t generate enough new cells when the old cells die to keep your bones healthy, and your bones become frail and weak.

Osteoporosis has a number of causes, including a calcium or vitamin D deficiency. Your bones need calcium and vitamin D to keep growing new cells, and as you age, your body doesn’t absorb vitamins and minerals with the same efficiency as it did when you were younger.

The most common cause of osteoporosis is lack of estrogen in women who have entered menopause. Estrogen drops dramatically in menopause, and estrogen deficiency accelerates bone loss.

In men, testosterone is converted to estrogen to help preserve bones. Osteoporosis is more common in men with testosterone deficiency.

Other hormones, including the parathyroid and thyroid hormones are important to bone health. Excess amounts of these hormones leech calcium from your bones and may cause osteoporosis.

Your bones support your ability to stand, sit, and move. When they weaken or are brittle, fractures can result. The following conditions are common with osteoporosis.

Hip fractures

If you have a hip fracture, you’re disabled for weeks or months. Not being able to walk or drive a car greatly reduces your independence. In fact, 60% of those who have a hip fracture still require help after a year. About 20% require longer-term nursing care, and nearly 20% may die in the year following the fracture. Results are worse for those in developing countries without access to health care.

Spinal fractures

Fractures of the spine are very painful and can lead to spinal deformity and lack of mobility. Spinal fractures affect every aspect of your life, from work to other normal daily activities that may become impossible to perform. After being hospitalized for one vertebral fracture, you’re at greater risk of successive fractures in future years.

Osteoporosis can lead to compression fractures in your spine because your vertebrae are no longer strong enough to support your frame. As the affected vertebrae collapse inward, each one loses part of its height. With several vertebrae affected, you experience a noticeable decrease in height. The compression may cause long-term pain after the fracture heals.

Compression fractures may cause a dramatic change in the way your body looks. When the front of the affected vertebrae breaks down and your spine curves forward, a condition commonly known as a dowager’s hump develops. It’s not surprising that vertebral fractures are associated with depression and poor self-esteem due to deformity, especially if it’s pronounced.

Prevention

With increased life expectancy compared to a century ago, more people will develop osteoporosis and experience fractures. South Texas Spinal Clinic has a Fracture Prevention Clinic to help prevent you from becoming an osteoporosis statistic.

Call or book an appointment online with South Texas Spinal Clinic for expert osteoporosis treatment. Our providers test your bone health and provide advanced medical care to help reduce or prevent bone loss and avoid the dangers of osteoporosis.

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