Osteoporosis is a common disease that tends to affect people throughout and beyond middle age, especially women. The condition progresses in four distinct stages, some of which can be difficult to recognize. To learn more about the early stages of osteoporosis, keep reading.
The early stages of osteoporosis can begin at around age 30, but it often causes no noticeable symptoms or problems. This is the point at which old bone may begin to be broken down at the same rate that new bone is made. As long as this rate stays constant, the bones will not weaken significantly - this is why there are no symptoms at this stage.
Like the first stage, the second stage of osteoporosis is also fairly hard to notice. It mostly occurs after the age of 35, although can begin later in life. This stage is when the balance of old and new bone begins to become unbalanced. In the second stage, old bone is broken down faster than new bone is formed.
Although this faster rate of resorption can be recognized on bone density tests, it is not likely to be fast enough to cause any noticeable problems. Bones are not significantly more likely to fracture, because their strength has not deteriorated to that point yet at this stage. Because of this, few tests are performed at this stage and few cases are detected.
The first time that osteoporosis becomes obvious and noticeable is at the third stage, which usually affects people aged 45 to 55 years old. It is as this point that bones weaken to the point that they begin to break under stress that should not affect healthy, strong bones.
Most often, osteoporosis will be diagnosed during this stage. The majority of cases are not diagnosed earlier, because there are no indications of a problem until bones begin to break easily. Once the third stage is reached, it becomes clear that a medical problem is occurring, and tests reveal the bone loss and low bone density characteristic of osteoporosis.
The fourth stage encompasses all of the time after passing on from the third stage. There are fewer distinct differences between the third and fourth stages than between some of the earlier stages, but in general, the fourth stage is when bones fracture more and more and cause significant distress.
Some symptoms of the fourth stage are constant pain, as bones often form small stress fractures during this period. Disabilities and spine deformities are also common; because the spine carries so much weight, it commonly experiences fractures and a form of slumping.
However, although this stage causes significant problems, the good news is that it is becoming less common for people to pass all the way through to stage four due to medical advancements in treatment to prevent breaks and brittle bones.
Knowing the facts about the early stages of osteoporosis might help you to catch the condition earlier or learn how to prevent it at the outset. For more early detection methods, learn about the dexa scan for bone density and osteoporosis.