Osteoporosis is often called “The Silent Thief” because it can cause bone mass and tissue deterioration without any noticeable symptoms. Osteoporosis is most common in older adults, especially females after menopause. Osteoporosis leads to an increased risk of bone fractures, most commonly of the spine, hips, wrists, and shoulders. Osteoporosis can be a very frustrating disease because there is no single cause for it, however the loss of estrogen in our bodies as we age and from menopause in women is a large contributing factor. For more information on osteoporosis, visit: https://osteoporosis.ca/about-the-disease/what-is-osteoporosis
What is the link between Osteoporosis & AS?
Up to one-third of people with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have some degree of bone loss due to systemic inflammation and decreased mobility, but lowering inflammation with tumor necrosis factor blockers may improve bone density, recent studies suggest.
More information specific to AS and Osteoporosis can be found here: https://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/psoriatic-arthritis/are-osteoporotic-fractures-preventable-spondyloarthritis
or here: https://rmdopen.bmj.com/content/rmdopen/1/1/e000052.full.pdf
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Often with osteoporosis, there aren’t any noticeable symptoms until a patient experiences a fracture. Once this occurs the only noticeable symptom may be additional pain, more so than what would normally accompany a fracture. This is one of the reasons why osteoporosis is difficult to diagnose, when you experience a fracture pain is expected, it’s determining how much pain should register as an osteoporotic level that is difficult to acknowledge. This leads to an abundance of late diagnosis which increases the difficulty of treating osteoporosis. An important part of dealing with osteoporosis and what to look for are early warning signs and indicators. While there aren’t any clear cut signs to indicate that you have osteoporosis, there are some that can lead you in the right direction.
Early signs of bone loss are rare. Most people don’t know they have weak bones until they’ve broken their hip, spine, or wrist. Some signs and symptoms can point toward bone loss include:
- Receding gums
- Weaker grip strength
- Weak and brittle fingernails
- Loss of height
- Fracture from a fall
- Back or neck pain
- Stooped posture or compression fracture
Visit these two websites for a list of indicators of osteoporosis: https://www.everydayhealth.com/osteoporosis/early-signs-of-osteoporosis.aspx or https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoporosis-symptoms#early-stages.
How can I manage osteoporosis going forward?
Unfortunately there is no way to treat and completely reverse osteoporosis once it has manifested. There are however several pharmacological and nonpharmacological methods that can help patients manage their osteoporosis and prevent further damage. Two of the biggest pieces of advice are ensure that your body is getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin D and calcium, as they are two components that help to keep bones healthy. Some pharmacological treatments include bisphosphonates, parathyroid hormones, and calcitonin. Additionally, low impact exercise like water aerobics, and bicycling can be useful to help strengthen bones. Taking further precautions to prevent falling is extremely important, take your time, watch your step, and plan your routes, as even the smallest amount of impact can cause significant damage to your bones. For additional information on managing osteoporosis please visit this link.
Where to find additional information and support?
Osteoporosis Canada is the only national organization serving people who have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis. The organization works to educate, empower and support individuals and communities in the risk-reduction and treatment of osteoporosis.
They are dedicated to teaching Canadians how to improve their bone health so osteoporosis can never take hold. They provide support to those already diagnosed, and work to improve their quality of life. They are dedicated to pursuing research and treatment breakthroughs that keep more people healthy.
They have comprehensive information and several resources available to support you including a risk assessment.
Osteoporosis Canada be found here: https://osteoporosis.ca/