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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.

Some signs you have osteoporosis can include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Gradual loss of height
  • Being stooped
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

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 can be serious, especially in an older person, 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.

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.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic (Osteoporosis symptoms and causes)

Last reviewed: September 2017

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