What is it?
Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones due to a decrease in the mineral bone density. This can lead to fractures and permanent changes to the shape of the spine. It can be caused through a lack of calcium and vitamin D and is most common in menopausal women and older people. It can be caused by other diseases such as renal (kidney) disease, and bowel disorders.
It may not cause symptoms, but may be diagnosed on routine testing. Possible symptoms include; Sudden neck pain - Due to weakness in the bones, late stage osteoporosis can lead to fractures through activities such as sneezing. Limited Mobility Loss in height Deformity in curvature of the spine Gradual/mild onset of neck pain
When to see a doctor or consider surgery?
You should see your doctor if symptoms develop or you are post menopausal women due to the increased risks of osteoporosis. Surgery is only considered should osteoporosis cause fractures or other conditions, but the underlying osteoporosis is treated along national guidelines depending on the degree and your condition. If you experience any 'Red Flags' (Symptoms requiring immidiate attention) you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
How is it diagnosed?
Bone mineral density tests can be performed by a doctor to monitor the rate of bone density degeneration. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses low energy x rays. Yearly tests are recommended for; women over the age of 65 All post-menopausal women Women undergoing menopause Individuals with abnormal spines Long term oral steroid users Hyperparathyroidism patients.