Osteoporosis mostly affects older individuals leading to brittle and weak bones that could cause bone fractures as a complication. Osteoporosis’s risk factors include a family history of osteoporosis, old age, hormone fluctuations, and immunocompromising conditions and medication.
Early warning signs of osteoporosis include:
1. Receding gums
Receding gums are a common indication of massive bone loss because teeth are connected to a person’s jaw bone. When a jaw bone loses bone density, the gums tend to draw backward, creating an impression of receding gums. Moreover, research indicates that low bone density can cause loose teeth, detachment of gums from the tooth, and loose dentures. Further studies revealed that women link the jaw bone loss with decreasing the lumbar vertebrae’s bone density.
2. Decreased grip strength
One way of preventing falls among the old is developing balance, muscle strength, and good grip. A decrease in grip strength is an early indication of osteoporosis due to the reduction in bone density. Studies done on postmenopausal women showed a correlation between bone mineral density and low hand-grip strength, thereby predisposing affected individuals to falls.
Another research that involved postmenopausal women who exercised their forearms and wrist showed a significant improvement in their grip strength. Furthermore, the study concluded that hand-grip strength is a marker for general health and bone fragility. Therefore, low grip strength can be used as a sign of osteoporosis.
3. Weak and brittle fingernails
Nutrition and hormonal fluctuations are implicated for brittle fingernails, especially for menopausal women due to fluctuating estrogen concentrations. Nail strength is one of the indications of bone health. Weak fingernails can break after light manual work, and hand wash shows the onset of osteoporosis. Studies indicate that patients under osteoporosis treatment record an increase in nail composition, particularly magnesium and calcium concentrations. Multiple preliminary studies have established a connection between fracture risk, osteoporosis, and fingernails through utilizing Raman spectroscopy. Additionally, the research suggests individuals with low collagen concentrations in their nails will also have lower levels in their bones. Studies link brittle nails with nutritional deficiency of folic acid, calcium, vitamin C. The nails break, curl, split, or chip easily around the fingertips combined with characteristics such as discoloration, ridges, and dryness.
4. Myalgia and bone pain
One can experience bone pain and muscle aches as the symptoms of osteoporosis. Lower back pain due to osteoporosis weakens the spine because it cannot handle everyday stress. Severe absence of vitamin D leads to muscle cramps and bone pain apart from decreasing magnesium, potassium, and calcium concentrations in the blood. Furthermore, a drop in a person’s bones’ mineral content can result in excessive bone loss. The level of pain among individuals with osteoporosis differs among individuals and worsens when there is vertebrae collapse. Compression fractures can push the stomach forward, affecting the ribs and pelvic bone, causing bones to rub against each other. Muscle spasms can cause pain due to nerves’ pinching when the tense muscles protect the joints and bones.
5. Stooped posture
Compression ruptures and fractures in the spinal bones and vertebrae are common for individuals with osteoporosis. The curved spine from compression fractures causes severe and sudden back pains that worsen when walking or standing. Spinal fractures can occur without falling because the compromised and weak vertebrae break on their own. Moreover, the fractures can make one appear shorter because of the shortening of the spinal column.
Patients might confuse muscle cramps and pain that come with old age with the onset of osteoporosis. Moreover, a higher frequency of nocturnal foot and leg cramps is indicative of osteoporosis and the decrease of blood levels of magnesium, calcium, and potassium.