Of the many conditions that attack your bones, one of the most common is osteoporosis, which affects about 10 million Americans. Another 44 million have low bone density, increasing their risk of developing the disease later on. What’s even more unsettling is that many people don’t even know they have osteoporosis until it’s too late.
At West Texas Pain Institute, Dr. Raul Lopez specializes in using advanced regenerative medicine methods to address your osteoporosis before it becomes an even bigger problem. Here’s a closer look at osteoporosis and why you should never let it go untreated.
An overview of osteoporosis
To understand osteoporosis, you first need to know more about your bones.
Your bones are made of collagen and calcium phosphate. This combination makes them both flexible and strong enough to withstand stress and impact.
Although seemingly fixed and rigid, your bones are actually living, growing tissue. From birth, they’re in a constant state of regrowth. New bone replaces old, worn-down bone over and over again. On a microscopic level, healthy bones have small holes, making them look a bit like honeycomb on the inside.
Osteoporosis, or “porous bone,” develops when new bone stops growing and the holes become much larger. This loss of density means that even mild stressors like bending over and coughing jeopardize your bone health.
There’s no one cause of osteoporosis; many factors put you at risk for this disease.
For example, women, individuals of Caucasian or Asian descent, people with smaller body frames, and older people are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than other demographics. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Hormonal issues
- Eating disorders
- Lack of calcium
- Steroids and other medication
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Medical conditions like cancer and kidney disease
Because osteoporosis rarely presents symptoms, it’s extremely important to have your bone density monitored regularly, especially if you have any of the common risk factors.
Complications of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis also poses a series of threats to both your bone and overall health. Here are just a few of the problems this disease can cause.
As your bones erode, there’s not much stopping them from snapping unexpectedly. The flexibility and strength that made them capable of bearing extreme stress has all but disappeared. The most unassuming action, like a simple misstep, could result in a broken bone.
Osteoporosis-related fractures happen most frequently in high-impact, load-bearing areas like your hip, wrist, and spine.
There are lots of reasons why you might experience pain — from an irritated nerve to a sore muscle, for example.
When you have osteoporosis, however, your pain stems from a broken bone. Even a small fracture can cause a significant amount of pain. Because this can happen at any time, you might not know that a fracture is the reason you’re in pain.
Loss of height
Much of your stature comes from your spine. As osteoporosis slowly deteriorates your bones and breaks down your vertebrae, you’ll notice that you’ve lost an inch or two in height.
With healthy bones, you’re able to bear your body weight and stand tall. As osteoporosis develops, the spine and other parts of your skeleton buckle under the pressure, giving you a stooped posture.
Treating your osteoporosis
Dr. Lopez knows how life-changing this disease can be. That’s why he provides the best in regenerative medicine to not only treat your pain and other symptoms but address the underlying condition.
He offers stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies to treat your osteoporosis. Both of these treatments involve injecting cells or growth factors harvested from your body into your damaged tissue. They promote healing and restore lost bone density by stimulating your body’s natural healing process, while relieving pain at the same time.
You don’t have to accept osteoporosis as a part of life. If you’d like more information or are ready to get started with a consultation, call our El Paso office or schedule an appointment online today.