Osteoporosis may have no symptoms but result in extreme pain and immobility.
Research evidence shows that often diagnosis is only made after multiple fractures. Treatment can then be delayed, incomplete, inappropriate or the wrong duration.
Osteoporosis is silent until a fracture occurs. In the UK there are more than 524,000 osteoporosis fractures every year, with more than 1,150 deaths every month (National Osteoporosis Society); with survivors experiencing ongoing pain and restricted activities.
Signs and symptoms in adults
There are typically no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected
Causes of Osteoporosis
Your bones are in a constant state of renewal — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 30s. With age, bone mass is lost faster than it is created.
How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth and early adulthood. The higher your peak bone mass, the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.