Osteoporosis - Symptoms

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What were your symptoms at the onset of your osteoporosis?

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What are osteoporosis symptoms and signs?

Osteoporosis can be present without any symptoms for decades because osteoporosis doesn't cause symptoms until bone fractures. Moreover, some osteoporotic fractures may escape detection for years when they do not cause symptoms. Therefore, patients may not be aware of their osteoporosis until they suffer a painful fracture. The symptom associated with osteoporotic fractures usually is pain; the location of the pain depends on the location of the fracture. The symptoms of osteoporosis in men are similar to the symptoms of osteoporosis in women.

Fractures of the spine (vertebra) can cause severe "band-like" pain that radiates from the back to the sides of the body. Over the years, repeated spinal fractures can lead to chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height and/or curving of the spine due to collapse of the vertebrae. The collapse gives individuals a hunched-back appearance of the upper back, often called a "dowager hump" because it commonly is seen in elderly women.

A fracture that occurs during the course of normal activity is called a minimal trauma, or stress fracture. For example, some patients with osteoporosis develop stress fractures of the feet while walking or stepping off a curb.

Hip fractures typically occur as a result of a fall. With osteoporosis, hip fractures can occur as a result of trivial slip-and-fall accidents. Hip fractures also may heal slowly or poorly after surgical repair because of poor healing of the bone.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: jennwright, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

My first symptoms started when I was 36: I started having chest pain. X-rays didn't show anything, so I went for four months trying to convince my numerous doctors that it wasn't going away, and that it changed sites. Finally, they sent me to a pain specialist, who looked at my four-month-old x-rays and saw six bilateral rib fractures. The radiologist hadn't caught them when the films were taken because my bones were already too transparent. I ended up having 44 known a traumatic rib fractures (three broke during a lung-capacity test) within eleven months. I've since had a few minor fractures (rib, scapula) but nothing major since I started on Reclast (zoledronic acid).

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Comment from: ewcollins, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 15

In 2008, I asked my physician for a bone density scan. They said, "No, you have no risk factors." In 2009, I asked my new physician for a bone density scan. Again, they said, "No, you have no risk factors." In 2010, I asked yet another new physician for a bone density scan. They reluctantly agreed. It turned out that I have osteoporosis of the lumbar spine and osteopenia of the left hip and left femoral neck. I wish that I had found out about this in 2008, when I first asked. One need not have any symptoms or risk factors to get osteoporosis. Everyone over 50 should have a DEXA scan.

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