Osteoporosis: Early Signs

As we age, we become more prone to bone density loss, especially postmenopausal women and anyone with a vitamin D deficiency. This bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, which often occurs without any noticeable symptoms, so by the time you feel pain or have a fracture, osteoporosis may already be present.

So, what are the early signs of osteoporosis?

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Difficulty getting up from a chair without using your arms
  • Joint or muscle ashes
  • High level of serum calcium or alkaline phosphate on a blood test
  • A resting pulse that is greater than 80 beats per minute

What do you do if you think you are at risk or already have osteoporosis? Get screened for bone loss.  A bone mineral density (BMD) screening is the most reliable diagnostic test for osteoporosis. The most common type of BMD screening is a dual x-ray absorptiometry scan (DXA or DEXA). This scan is a painless procedure, using very low levels of radiation to measure bone density.

Who should get screened?

  • Women over 65
  • Women who have more than one risk factor
  • Postmenopausal women who have had a fracture

Since there are no noticeable symptoms of bone loss, screenings should occur before you have reason to worry.

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