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Osteoporosis symptoms

Osteoporosis develops slowly over several years. It is likely there will be no warning signs or symptoms until a minor fall or sudden impact causes a bone fracture.

Healthy bones should be able to withstand a fall from standing height, so a bone that breaks in these circumstances is known as a 'fragility fracture'.

The most common injuries in people with osteoporosis are:

  • wrist fractures
  • hip fractures
  • fractures of the spinal bones (vertebrae).

A simple cough or a sneeze may cause the fracture of a rib or the partial collapse of one of the bones of the spine.

A fractured bone in an older person can be serious, depending on where it occurs, and can lead to long-term disability. For example, a hip fracture may lead to long-term problems with mobility.

One visible sign of osteoporosis is the characteristic stooping (bent forward) position that develops in older people. It happens when the bones in the spine are fractured, making it difficult to support the weight of the body.

Osteoporosis usually doesn't cause pain unless a bone is broken as a result of the condition. Although not always painful, spinal fractures are the most common cause of chronic pain associated with osteoporosis.

Source: NHS Choices, UK (Symptoms of osteoporosis)

Last reviewed: June 2015

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and lose their strength, making them break more easily than normal bones. It affects more women than men.

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What you need to know about Osteoporosis

1.2 million Australians are affected by osteoporosis, which means that their bones are fragile and at risk of fracture. A further 6.3 million people have low bone density (osteopenia), a possible precursor to osteoporosis. However, as many as 4 out of 5 people with osteoporosis don’t know that they have it and therefore don’t know that they are at risk of fracturing a bone. This is because osteoporosis is a ‘silent’ disease without obvious symptoms.

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Coeliac disease and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile, leading to a higher risk of breaks or fractures. A minor bump or fall can be enough to cause a break in someone with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is one of the most common health problems associated with coeliac disease. This factsheet explains how coeliac disease can affect your bones, how to find out if you are at risk of osteoporosis, and what you can do to help protect your bone health.

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Pregnancy and Osteoporosis

This leaflet is about the rare and sudden occurrence of osteoporosis during pregnancy, usually diagnosed after birth. If you have had a fracture during or after pregnancy, then please speak to your doctor or health care professional. Optimising bone health during pregnancy is also important for those women already diagnosed with low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis.

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Exercise to prevent osteoporosis - myDr.com.au

Regular weight-bearing exercise and strength (resistance) training can help improve your bone density and decrease your risk of osteoporosis.

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Osteoporosis | Women's Health Queensland Wide

Over one million Australians already suffer from osteoporosis and this number is expected to rise due to the ageing population.

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Musculoskeletal conditions - arthritis and osteoporosis and back pain

Musculoskeletal conditions, of which arthritis and osteoporosis are most common, are one of the major causes of chronic pain and disability in Australia.

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Bone mineral density tests - myDr.com.au

Bone mineral density testing assesses the mineral content of your bones. Low bone mineral density - osteopenia or osteoporosis - makes bones weak.

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Osteopenia

Osteopenia is the term used by doctors to describe low bone density. People with osteopenia have bones that are weaker than normal, but not weak enough to be called osteoporosis. Osteopenia or low bone density is thought to affect around 6.3 million Australians, and is an early warning sign that you should be taking action to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis and breaking a bone in the future.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

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