Osteoporosis is perhaps the most common musculoskeletal condition seen in females above the age of 30, especially postmenopausal females. Osteoporosis is a condition which makes the bones extremely brittle and weak predisposing the individual to frequent fractures even with the slightest of slips or falls. The areas most vulnerable to fractures due to osteoporosis are the hips, spine and the wrists.
Osteoporosis is always preceded by another condition called osteopenia in which there is significant bone loss, which leads to brittle and weak bones. Bone mineral density test is by far the best way to diagnose whether an individual has osteoporosis or is at risk for developing this osteoporosis. There have also been cases where osteoporosis has been shown to run in families which points to a genetic link towards the development of osteoporosis. It has also been seen that osteoporosis is quite a common condition in people who tend to have a short stature.
While it is always advised to start immediate treatment for osteoporosis, there is always a question as to what may happen if osteoporosis is left untreated. This question is what has been answered below as to what happens when osteoporosis is left untreated.
What Will Happen If Osteoporosis Is Left Untreated?
Decreased Quality Of Life: If osteoporosis is left untreated, it may significantly impact the daily routine of the affected individual to such an extent that it may become a challenge for the patient to carry out activities of daily living and work related activities.
Vertebral Fractures: Osteoporosis causes fractures of the spine also called as vertebral fractures even with slightest bit of trauma, which may again impact be extremely painful and may make life difficult for the affected individual. Even activities like bending, twisting, lifting, or even at times coughing might be enough to cause a vertebral collapse which may be extremely serious.
Compression Fractures: Compression fractures are yet another complication of an untreated osteoporosis. Compression fractures of the spine tend to be painful, but there have been instances where compression fractures do not cause any symptoms and go undiagnosed.
Hip Fracture: The worst complication that can occur as a result of untreated osteoporosis is a hip fracture. A hip fracture can have severe impact on the quality of life of the affected individual. A hip fracture may cause severe complications like pneumonia or a blood clot which may prove fatal for the individual as a result of untreated osteoporosis. Studies have estimated that the incidences of fractures in females due to osteoporosis are far more than some of the more serious medical conditions like stroke or breast cancer.
Second Fracture: It is also seen that if an individual has a fracture due to osteoporosis then the chances of that individual having a second fracture is quite high, although the risk of this can be reduced by treating the underlying condition which is osteoporosis.
Spinal Deformity: Spinal deformity is yet another complication that tends to arise from untreated osteoporosis. Spinal deformity may be accompanied by pain which tends to worsen as osteoporosis progresses. Hunchback curve or what is medically termed as kyphotic deformity is common in osteoporotic patients which do not get appropriate treatment. Once an individual gets such a deformity due to untreated osteoporosis, it tends to dent the overall confidence of the patient and makes it difficult for the individual to carry out activities of daily living or be gainfully employed at a job which is physically demanding.
So looking at the above data of what may happen if osteoporosis is left untreated, I am sure everyone will agree that getting treatment for osteoporosis at the earliest is the best course of action for curbing this silent demon of a disease. So, do not ignore osteoporosis and follow the treatment as per your doctor’s instructions to avoid further complications and health hazards resulting from an untreated osteoporosis.
- Hodsman, A. B., Leslie, W. D., Tsang, J. F., Gamble, G. D. (2007). 10-year probability of recurrent fractures following wrist and other osteoporotic fractures in a large clinical cohort: an analysis from the Manitoba Bone Density Program. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(20), 1750-1755. doi: 10.1001/archinte.167.20.1750
- Watts, N. B. (2004). Postmenopausal Osteoporosis: A Clinical Review. Journal of Women’s Health, 13(4), 441-458. doi: 10.1089/154099904323016448
- International Osteoporosis Foundation. (2021). Osteoporosis: Facts and Statistics. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. (2021). Osteoporosis. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/osteoporosis
- 10 Best Yoga Poses for Osteoporosis – Tree, Triangle, Warrior, Camel, Corpse
- Osteoporosis: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies, Prevention
- Postmenopausal Osteoporosis: Ways To Reduce Fracture Risk
- Osteoporosis Diet: Good and Bad Foods for Osteoporosis
- How Does Yoga Help with Osteoporosis?
- Effects of Osteoporosis & Can it be Reversed?
- 10 Natural Ways to Reverse Osteoporosis