How do you know if you have osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is deterioration of the bone tissue which causes bones to become weak and brittle. Weaker bones can fracture (break) more easily. Although osteoporosis is thought to be a woman’s disease, men are also affected by it.

Osteoporosis often starts without symptoms and may not be found until a bone fracture. But sometimes, symptoms appear.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

  • Back pain
  • Wrist, hip and spine fractures
  • Loss of height
  • Hunched posture

Risks of osteoporosis

  • Family history
  • A diet lacking calcium and vitamin D
  • Smoking
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Use of certain medications including, but not limited to, prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone
  • Inactive lifestyle

You should talk to your doctor if you are:

  • A woman over age 65
  • A man over age 70
  • A man between ages 50 and 70 who has at least one risk factor
  • Over age 50 with a history of fractures
  • A woman who experienced early menopause
  • Taking medications, such as prednisone, aromatase inhibitors or anti-seizure drugs, that are associated with osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often seen in those who are older but it can strike at any age. It is never too late – or too early – to help prevent it. Try these prevention tips:

  • If you smoke, quit. Find smoking cessation resources here.
  • Eat foods that include:
    • Calcium (e.g., dark green vegetables, yogurt and milk)
    • Vitamin D (e.g., eggs, fatty fish and fortified cereal)
  • Get plenty of exercise to make your bones stronger. Talk with your doctor about safe activities for you.

Treatment options are available if you have osteoporosis. Your doctor can determine whether you have osteoporosis through a test. If you have questions about osteoporosis, talk to your doctor or call our Care Management Program at 503-574-7247, toll free 800-662-1121 or TTY 800-735-2900.