Preparing for, and hopefully avoiding osteoporosis (know as “the silent killer” because traditionally we’ve been caught unawares by its approach) is doable – as long as we see and heed the warning signs or symptoms.
Though the possible symptoms of osteoporosis are not widely known – and even when spotted can be mistakenly attributed to other health issues.
But before delving into symptoms, let’s refresh on the issue itself- osteoporosis, which is a disease of the bones. You are diagnosed with it if your bone mineral density falls beneath a certain point, and your bones have become more porous than solid.
When it is detected it’s commonly at a late, advanced stage that renders the victim bedridden – or worse.
In fact, statistics show that 13% of the population will die within 6 months of having a hip fracture. By two years, that number rises to 20%!
That’s a frightening statistic and one that makes the epithet “the silent killer” well deserved.
The most accurate test to determine where you rate on the bone mineral density scale is called a DEXA scan.
It is a dual x-ray that measures how porous your bones are. It is the best way to find out your bone strength so that you can make the necessary lifestyle adjustments (i.e. adding regular weight bearing exercise and dietary changes primarily) to keep osteoporosis at bay.
But you may be like many who do not have medical coverage or the personal funds for this test that ranges from $100-200.
If that is the case, then it’s wise to at least be aware of the possible symptoms of osteoporosis.
Though in the early stages of bone loss, which is referred to as osteopenia, you generally have no symptoms. But as bones become weaker, there are signs and symptoms that will start to appear.
Because you don’t want to learn you have osteoporosis only after suffering a serious fracture – likely from a wee bump or gentle fall. Then it may be too late to effectively combat it.
Medical professionals dub osteoporosis the “silent killer” because you don’t see or feel it’s symptoms. But beware of the possible warning signs…
5 Osteoporosis Symptoms and Signs To Watch Out For
In the early stages of bone loss, which is referred to as osteopenia, you generally have no symptoms. But as bones become weaker, there are signs and symptoms that will start to appear.
And because you don’t want to learn that you have osteoporosis only after suffering a serious fracture – likely from a minor fall or bump, it’s important to be aware of the possible warning signs…
Sign #1: Your Height.
Have you noticed you’ve gotten shorter? It’s normal to lose a little height as we age, but too much height loss is a warning sign of a spine fracture (a broken bone in your back). You may think you would notice a broken bone in your back, but according to Osteoporosis Canada, you may not be aware because 66% of these breaks are painless! We’ve all seen older folks hunched over with a curling spine. You may not know that is from multiple spine fractures – the vertebrae crumble like weathered bricks.
Sign #2: Brittle fingernails.
The most common reasons for brittle fingernails is hormonal changes and nutrition. Women who are going through menopause have fluctuating estrogen levels that affect many things, nail strength included. Also, brittle nails can be a sign of nutritional deficiency. So it’s important to maintain a balanced diet that is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin C and healthy fats.
Sign#3: Receding gums.
Research suggests a link to osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. If your jaw bone is deteriorating, your gums follow suit and begin to recede, giving you a major warning that something is wrong.
Sign#4: Grip strength.
Grip strength may be an indicator of your overall bone density, says a recent study. If you’ve noticed your grip is getting weaker, it may be a sign that your bones are getting weaker as well. The study also found that people who exercise had a significant increase in grip strength over non-exercisers. This confirms other studies about exercise (especially weight-bearing) and its positive effect on bone density.
Sign #5: Fracture
One of the most common signs of osteoporosis is a fracture that has occurred way too easily. This is the last one on the list as one hopes to catch it sooner, but for most, this is how they discover their osteoporosis. If you fracture or break a bone from a low impact fall or bump, it’s a major sign of bone loss or osteoporosis. If this happens, make sure you have your doctor test your bone density with a DEXA scan.
As you can see, most osteoporosis symptoms are subtle and even ‘silent.’ That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms as you age. If you have even one of these symptoms and are 40 years old and older, ask your doctor for a DEXA scan to make sure.
What To Do If You Have Symptoms: Osteoporosis Prevention
Exercise + Lifestyle:
Even if you have yet to show any symptoms of osteoporosis, it is recommended to build up bone density – before you have problems.
Regular weight-bearing exercise, abstaining from smoking and processed and sugary foods, along with taking plant based multimineral supplements, are some great ways to stave off osteoporosis.
Think of it like a bank account: if you only make withdrawals, you will go bust. But if you make a habit of consistent deposits with multimineral supplements and exercise, you will have enough bone mineral density to cruise through the retirement years confidently, actively- and without a storm on your tail!
Learning to spot the signs of osteoporosis could prevent a silent but deadly storm in your life.
Some of the traditional calciums (90% of which are made from limestone and marble) have been proven to slow down bone loss by 0.5%. Helpful, but you’re still losing bone by taking these.
However, recent human studies have shown supplements made from marine algae (that are naturally very high in calcium and many other trace minerals) are able to actually increase your bone density. It’s called AlgaeCal Plus and it is a complete bone-building supplement.
This shouldn’t be completely surprising as the bones are made up of many minerals (not just calcium) and need to be replenished with the same. As well, the body absorbs and utilizes the minerals from a plant much more effectively than from a rock.