Boss loss, clinically known as osteoporosis, affects millions of people. In many cases, people don’t even realize they have the condition until it’s in the later stages. Osteoporosis can be present without any symptoms for many years, creating a silent condition that doesn’t prompt medical attention or treatment.

Osteoporosis often doesn’t cause any symptoms until a bone fractures of breaks. Even then, some fractures may go undetected for years, if they don’t cause symptoms of discomfort or pain at the site of the fracture. Stress fractures often seen in the hands, feet and legs can occur during normal activities, even walking. They are often seen in athletes who participate in basketball, tennis, running, and other sports that involve running and jumping on hard surfaces that put stress on the feet and legs. They can also occur with continual stress or injury caused by less significant circumstances.

There are a variety of things that contribute to bone loss, but certain risk factors increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Risk factors include:

* Female gender
* Over the age of 35
* A small or thin body frame
* Poor nutrition
* Poor general health
* Lack of regular exercise
* Lack of vitamin D and sunlight
* Chronic inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis
* Low estrogen levels in women
* Low testosterone levels in men
* Certain medications

If you fall into one of these high-risk categories, it’s important to be aware of the potential for bone loss, especially as you age. Since bone loss often has no symptoms until a bone fractures or breaks, the consequences can be severe. Spine and hip fractures, often caused by slip and fall accidents, can result in serious pain, immobility, temporary or permanent disability, and decreased quality of life. In elderly adults with hip fractures, up to 30 percent will require long-term nursing home care, and up to 20 percent of women will die within a year after the fracture due to complications. If you are at higher risk for osteoporosis, consult an endocrinologist in broward county for a bone density test and information on the prevention of bone loss.