Osteoporosis, the thinning of bones, is known as a silent disease. But there are certain signs that you may be at greater risk. Here’s what to watch for.
- You’re small-boned and/or underweight. Low body weight and a slight build mean your bones may be thin too.
- You have persistent back pain. A constant backache may mean you have a spinal fracture, one of the symptoms of osteoporosis.
- You’re getting shorter. Although a natural result of aging, loss of height can also be a sign of spinal fracture.
- You’ve broken a bone. Fractures occur more easily in weak, thinning bones.
- You use corticosteroids. These medications can cause rapid bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. Other drugs can thin your bones too, so always ask your health care provider about side effects.
- You smoke. Smoking doubles your risk of suffering a fracture caused by thinning bones.
- You can’t drink milk. People who are lactose intolerant may not get enough calcium, but may be able to tolerate reduced-fat cheese and yogurt. You might also try lactose-free milk or take a calcium supplement.
If any of these warning signs apply to you or you’re at all concerned, speak to your health care provider about bone density testing. Taking precautions now could help prevent disability and even save you from a life-threatening broken bone in the future.