There are no obvious symptoms of osteoporosis. In fact, many people do not know they have it until after a fracture, usually of the wrist, spine, or hip. And we’re not talking about any old bone break. After an break due to osteoporosis, a person can experience chronic pain, loss of mobility, disability, and even loss of independence according to Women On the Go. Right after a hip fracture, 40% of patients can walk by themselves, but a year later, 60% need help walking. Osteoporosis fractures can also be fatal.
If you have or are at risk for osteoporosis with low bone density, it’s important to understand your treatment options and work out a plan with your doctor to maintain bone density. This will almost always include weight-bearing exercise, calcium, vitamin D, and avoidance of alcohol and smoking. Depending on your condition, medications and other medical treatments may be available to you. On the Go Women has a great personalized conversation guide that you fill out to help know what you and your doctor will talk about when discussing other treatment options.
As with many chronic conditions, osteoporosis can be difficult to deal with. It’s important to keep a social network and stay positive. Taking steps to take care of yourself physically can go a long way to improving your condition, but also taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and socially will definitely improve your quality of life. The National Osteoporosis Foundation has an a page called Thinking and Feeling Good about Yourself with a list of affirming thoughts and ideas.
Remember, there is much you can do to build or maintain bone health through good lifestyle habits. Make others aware of what they can do to lower their risk of osteoporosis as well. Let’s build strong bones together!