Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of the bone resulting in an increased susceptibility to fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans and is responsible for 700,000 vertebral fractures each year. Multiple vertebral fractures can result in chronic pain and disability, loss of independence, stooped posture and compression of the lungs and stomach. Nearly all vertebral fractures in otherwise healthy people are due to osteoporosis, and can occur from a minor impact, such as a bump or a fall, in those who suffer from this bone-weakening disease. People who have a spinal fracture often don't realize that they may have osteoporosis, because the disease is symptomless until a fracture occurs.

The Spinal Column

Most fractures occur in the:

Middle, or thoracic spine.
Consists of 12 vertebrae, each carrying a set of ribs.

Or in the:

Lower or lumbar spine.
Consists of the five largest and strongest vertebrae.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis include:

  • Being female
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Advanced age
  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Being past menopause
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • A diet low in calcium
  • Long-term use of medications such as corticosteroids or anticonvulsants
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol

Are you at rist for fracture?

Take this simple quiz.
  • Have you lost height over the years?
  • Have you had a broken bone as an adult?
  • Do you have back pain unrelated to a specific injury?
  • Do you have a family history of osteoporosis?
  • Do you currently, or have you ever, smoked cigarettes?
  • Do you have a sedentary lifestyle?
  • Are you small-boned?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, you could be at risk for fracture, especially a spinal fracture.

Treatments include Kyphoplasty.

Various artery and vein conditions that can be treated by a specialist Dr. David Shelley in Pocatello Idaho.

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