Posted on 17 October 2022
What are the common signs of osteoporosis?
Our bone health peaks in our 30s, after which time it falls. Some of us lose too much bone, which can leave us at risk of fractures or breaks. Osteoporosis is common in older people, particularly post-menopausal women – but many of us have it without knowing it.
The first time many of us learn we have osteoporosis is being diagnosed after experiencing a fall, fracture, or break. According to the NHS, the most common bone injuries are a broken wrist, fractured or broken hip, and broken spinal bones.
However, you may experience a fracture or break in any bone of the body. Doctors diagnose osteoporosis by examining your bone density using a DEXA scan.
Over our lifetime, an estimated 1-in-4 of us will develop osteoporosis, with women at highest risk than men. The NHS estimates that over 3 million people in the UK are living with osteoporosis, and the number is increasing as the population ages.
Getting a diagnosis of osteoporosis is critical in getting the best treatment – and keeping your bones stronger for longer – but there are some symptoms you should look out for.
What are the osteoporosis symptoms to look out for?
The first many of us know about poor bone health is experiencing a fracture or break.
Spinal fractures are common in people with osteoporosis and are a warning sign that something isn’t right with your bones.
The Royal Osteoporosis Society highlights three symptoms:
- Unexplained back pain and muscle spasms
- Height loss
- A curved spine or change in posture
You may experience one, all, or none of these symptoms if you have osteoporosis, they warn. Why? Because spinal fractures aren’t as painful as other types of bone breakage, they say.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
Sadly, osteoporosis doesn’t present many warning signs, but there are some things that raise your risk of developing osteoporosis.
You’re at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis if:
- You take high-dose steroid tablets for more than 3 months
- You live with other medical conditions, including some inflammatory conditions, hormone-related conditions, or others
- You have a family history of osteoporosis.
- A parent has experienced a hip fracture in the past
- You take some prescription medicines that affect bone health, such as anti-oestrogen many women take after experiencing breast cancer
- You have had an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia that can weaken your bone
- You are underweight (have a low body-mass-index (BMI))
- You don’t exercise regularly
- You drink heavily
- You smoke
As we’ve mentioned before, women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
This is because oestrogen levels in the body drop during menopause and after it, which can cause bones to lose their strength.
However, not every woman will develop osteoporosis. The higher your bone density before menopause, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis.
You can learn more about the links between osteoporosis and menopause in our in-depth article.
Can you treat osteoporosis?
Yes! If you’re diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will work with you to find the most appropriate range of medications and lifestyle changes.
As we’ve written here, osteoporosis can be treated with a combination of medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and ensuring you get enough essential vitamins and minerals, say the experts at NICE.
The earlier you act to improve your bone health and protect bone density, the better.
What can I do to reduce my risk of developing osteoporosis?
Our bones are with us for life, so we should all do more to help maintain their density and strength. The good news is that keeping your bones healthy and strong isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
Here are some things that we can all do to reduce our risk of developing osteoporosis. The NHS recommends four things that we should all be doing to prevent osteoporosis:
- Exercise regularly to keep your bones as strong as possible
- Eat healthily – ensure you eat a varied diet that includes foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Taking a daily supplement containing at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D
- Make lifestyle changes, including giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol consumption
Are you getting the vitamins you need?
Vitamin D deficiency is a real risk for every adult in the UK, warns the NHS. We know that vitamin D deficiency has links to osteoporosis, and several other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis.
The good news is, it’s easier than ever to get the vitamin D you need. You can find a whole range of vitamin D supplement, including capsules, tablets, sprays, and gummies. That’s right, vitamin D sprays – and they’re just as effective as other forms of vitamin D supplementation, research has shown.
Alongside vitamin D, some people may benefit from other supplements, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and others.
You can buy bone health supplements separately, or a combination supplement, such as Vitabiotics Osteocare.
The choice of whether you take individual supplements, or a combination supplement is up to you. We recommend chatting with your doctor before taking any new supplements, as they may have some recommendations for you.
Stronger Bones – on a mission for better bone health
Osteoporosis is a life-limiting disease that can have a huge impact on how we live. While it’s impossible to prevent osteoporosis, there are things what we can all do to improve our bone health, says the NHS. Eat well, exercise more, cut out alcohol and smoking and boost our natural protection with supplements.
At Stronger Bones, you can find the UK’s best selection of bone health supplements at the best prices. Visit our shop for the latest deals on vitamin D supplements from brands such as Solgar, BetterYou, Vitabiotics, and others – all at the lowest prices around.
Stronger Bones is proud to be a UK company, and every product is stored, packed and shipped from the UK in sustainable packaging. It’s who we are and what we do.