Different Types of Fractures
Fractures, and the risk of refracturing, can have a serious impact on your day-to-day life. If you have osteoporosis, that first fracture should be a wake-up call for treatment; in fact, a recent study found that 30% of women broke another bone within about 5 years of their first fracture. However, these fractures may be preventable. Even after that first fracture, your doctor can assist you in finding an osteoporosis treatment to help lower your risk of having another one.
1 in 2 women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture in her life.
Fragility fractures, or low-impact fractures, are often the result of falls from a standing height or lower. They can happen during normal daily activities like getting out of a chair or stepping off of a curb, and they typically occur in the hip, spine and wrist. Even a wrist fracture can make things like preparing a meal, shopping and getting out of the car more difficult.
If you’re a woman over 50, these fractures may not be the result of a clumsy act — they may be due to osteoporosis.
Vertebral (Spinal) Fractures
Vertebral, or spinal, fractures are the most common fractures caused by osteoporosis.
Spinal fractures increase the risk of not only having another spinal fracture, but also of having other low-impact fractures. Sometimes, spinal fractures don’t have obvious symptoms and may be mistaken for something like back pain. They may also cause height loss, which can later cause kyphosis, or hunching of the back. Some people may attribute these things to aging, but the reality is that they can be caused by osteoporosis.
Hip fractures cause 1 out of 5 patients to need care in a nursing home.
Hip fractures are the most serious type of fracture caused by osteoporosis. Half of all people who have had a hip fracture are unable to function as they did before the fracture. Eighty percent of all hip fractures happen in postmenopausal women, which is another reason to make sure you’re doing all you can for your bones.Learn about options that may treat osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk
Understanding Risk Factors
Many different risk factors contribute to your bone health. Below are a few that can increase your risk for osteoporosis.
As you get older, your risk for osteoporosis increases.
Onset of menopause
Low estrogen levels due to menopause can weaken bones. This includes early menopause due to a hysterectomy.
Some medications may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Alcohol and smoking
Too much alcohol and/or smoking cigarettes can reduce bone mass and weaken bones.
If a biological family member has osteoporosis or breaks a bone, it’s more likely that you will too.
Ethnicity and body type
White and Asian women have the highest risk for osteoporosis, as do women with a small, thin body size.
Lack of exercise can weaken bones. It’s important to stay active.
Calcium and vitamin D are key for bone health — not getting enough can lead to weak bones.
When you better understand your personal risk, it may be easier to discuss osteoporosis, including treatment options. Download this worksheet, bring it to your next doctor appointment and fill it in together.
If you’re over 50 and you have osteoporosis, it’s important to report every fracture to the doctor who diagnosed or is treating your osteoporosis. Even if you’ve already had a fracture, there are treatments to help reduce the risk of having another.