The bones naturally break down over time and it occurs over our entire life. As the bone breaks down, it is also rebuilt and there are different types of cells that are responsible for doing so. Osteoclasts are the cells that break down the bone and cause it to be reabsorbed. Osteoblasts, on the other hand, are a type of cell that causes the bone to develop. It is a balance that we need to keep throughout our lifetime to ensure that the bones remain strong. Unfortunately, there are times when the two different types of cells don't function as they should and weak or brittle bones can occur.
When the bones become weak and brittle, it is a condition that is known as osteoporosis. The bones may be so brittle in an advanced case of this condition that even bending over or sneezing could cause a bone fracture. These types of fractures are common in some of the larger bones of the body, such as the hip but it can also occur in the spine or wrist. There are also certain factors that make it more likely for you to experience a problem, including if you are older, if you are taking certain medications long-term or if you don't eat a proper diet.
One of the problems with osteoporosis is the fact that it does not have any symptoms that are typically associated with it when the bone loss is in its early stages. After the bones have become sufficiently weakened, however, the symptoms can begin to appear and it is more difficult to manage at that time. One of the symptoms is back pain that is often associated with a collapsed vertebra or a fractured spine. You may also lose height over time, walk with a stooped posture, or experience easy bone fractures.
You should visit Dr. Lavery if you feel that you may be at risk for osteoporosis. Women who have gone through early menopause are more likely to experience a problem, as are those who have been on corticosteroid drugs for a number of months of the time. If one or both of your parents have experienced a hip fracture in their older years, you are also at a greater risk and it is best if you talk to your physician.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis through a bone density test, there may be some treatments that can help. Those treatments do not reverse osteoporosis but they can help to reduce your risk in some cases of experiencing a fracture. Some of the medications are known as bisphosphonates and they may carry certain side effects, such as heartburn, fever, headaches, and nausea. Dr. Lavery may also recommend hormone therapy or other types of osteoporosis medication.