Osteoporosis Signs and Symptoms

While osteoporosis symptoms are few, the first sign is often a bone fracture. Many women and men go through life without knowing that they have lost bone mass until they break their hip, spine, or wrist.

Some people have spine fractures that lead to a curve in their upper back. The first suggestion of spinal fractures and one of the first symptoms of osteoporosis may be when you realize you are not as tall as you used to be. Other signs and symptoms are back pain and stooped posture. If you have lost more than one and a half inches from your height as a young adult, you may wish to speak with your doctor about testing for osteoporosis.

More serious problems may occur after a hip fracture, because some people lose the ability to walk normally, perform activities of daily living, or live independently. According to data from the National Osteoporosis Foundations (NOF), the 300,000 Americans who have hip fractures each year face a higher risk of serious disability or death.

Editors:

Jens Bollerslev, MD
Rikshospitalet Medical Clinic

Steven T. Harris, MD
UC San Francisco

Dolores Shoback, MD
UC San Francisco/VA Medical Cente

Last Review: May 2013