Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weakened and develop holes in them. When this happens fractures may occur. Spinal fractures are common and very serious. They may lead to a type of deformity known as kyphosis, in which the spine hunches forward to accommodate the bone loss. A bone density test may reveal that you have lost height, a common situation in older women as menopause sets in and oestrogen levels are reduced. However younger women – and men – are also known to suffer from osteoporosis. Smoking, genetics, low calcium and a sedentary lifestyle are key contributors to this condition.
Many people do not realise they have osteoporosis until they have a bone density test, or begin to suffer from back ache; hence the reason it is sometimes called “the silent thief.” Dull pain develops in the neck or back and later increases. Difficulty walking and frequent falls are also symptoms of osteoporosis. Proper posture and balance are especially important to someone suffering from osteoporosis, as this can prevent falls which can lead to fractures. The good thing though, is that it is preventable with medical intervention, lifestyle changes and physiotherapy.