If left untreated, osteoporosis can have a profound impact on day-to-day life.
Fractures of the spine (also known as vertebral fractures) usually occur with little trauma. With osteoporosis, the simple acts of daily life, such as bending over, coughing or lifting, can be all it takes to collapse a vertebra. In such cases, the bones of the spine aren’t broken in the usual sense of the term. Rather than being snapped, as occurs with a broken arm, spinal vertebrae are compressed in the same way that a paper cup would be flattened when stepped on. These compression fractures may be accompanied by pain but in many instances, fractures of the spine may go unnoticed. The risk of these fractures can be reduced.
Spine fractures due to osteoporosis can lead to pain and deformity that may get worse over time. One such deformity is an obvious curve in the upper spine or hunchback-appearance (also known as kyphosis). Osteoporotic fractures can also impact your self-esteem and can make it difficult to get around independently. They can even make simple activities of daily life hard to do without help from others.
Hip fractures especially can have severe consequences. Affected individuals often suffer a loss of independence and almost 1 in 4 require admission to long-term care. Almost 1 out of every 4 women who suffer a hip fracture die within six months because of complications such as pneumonia or a blood clot.
Women break bones because of osteoporosis more often than they have heart attacks, strokes or breast cancer.
Having a previous fragility fracture increases the likelihood of having another fracture. Fortunately, fracture risk can be reduced. Click here to learn what you can do now to effectively decrease your chance of experiencing a fracture.