Osteoporosis and Compression Fractures

How healthy are your bones? As we age, we can lose bone density, which can lead to pain, fractures, and weakness. Two common issues to consider are osteoporosis and compression fractures.

Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue, and it occurs over time. The body needs calcium and phosphate for healthy bone production. If you lack enough of these important minerals, your bone tissue weakens, and your bones become fragile.

The causes of osteoporosis can vary. Here are some common ones:

  • For women, a drop in estrogen after menopause
  • For men, a drop in testosterone
  • Lack of vitamin D (which helps with calcium absorption)
  • Having been confined to bed
  • Suffering from kidney disease or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Consuming a high level of alcohol

Some of the symptoms of osteoporosis include loss of height, bone pain, low back pain, neck pain, and stooped posture. If you have osteoporosis, you are more prone to bone fractures, even from slight injury. In fact, you may not realize you have osteoporosis until you experience such a fracture.

Compression fractures are caused by a collapse of bones in the vertebrae. Compression fractures can be the result of osteoporosis, injury to the back, or a spreading tumor. If many fractures occur, you may experience curving and hunching of the back and spine.

Compression fractures are characterized by a sharp knife-like pain. They can occur suddenly, and they are usually felt in the middle to lower part of the back. The pain may last for weeks or months before abating. Over time you may experience loss of height, pain while walking that is relieved when lying down, humping of the back, numbness, tingles, weakness, trouble walking, or problems with bowel and bladder control.

Your doctor can perform an exam and spine X-ray to determine if you have a compound fracture. Treatment may include medication and calcium supplements for older patients. Others may require pain medication and bed rest.

If you are concerned about your bone health, the team at St. Petersburg General Hospital can help. You may benefit from certain medications, physical therapy, and an improved diet. We can determine your bone density and help you find ways to get stronger.

On Wednesday, October 19, join us for an informative lecture, Osteoporosis and Compression Fractures. Dr. Ashraf Ragab will talk about risk, prevention, and treatment for osteoporosis and compression fractures. The session will be held from 6 to 7 pm in Auditoriums A & B at the hospital, 6500 38th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33710. This is a free event that you don’t want to miss.

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