When it comes to bone health, it’s difficult to know just how in shape we are. While keeping our bones healthy is the key to remaining active and well into our elderly years, bone density scans are not a part of our annual checkup and they may start getting them when it has become too late to be proactive.
It’s important to pay attention to signs from our body that tell us our bones aren’t getting the care they need. This is because many chronic bone conditions, such as osteoporosis are asymptomatic until they cause a much larger problem. In fact, many patients have osteoporosis for years without ever feeling its affect – until it causes a fracture in the spine or another joint and the bones are not healthy enough to heal properly. This can cause rapid decline not only in musculoskeletal health, but your overall wellness and lifestyle.
Here are some small signs that should prompt you to get that bone screening or talk to your doctor about increasing your Vitamin D intake, becoming more active, and taking other steps toward better bone health.
1. Brittle fingernails. As you may know, our nails need the same nourishment that our bones do, so they often grow or become brittle along with our bones.
2. Receding gums. Interestingly, one of the first outward signs of bone loss occurs in our mouth. If you find your gums receding, it may be because your jaw is losing bone mass. Studies show that bone mineral loss in the spine has a strong correlation with receding gums as well. Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for input or what he may see in your oral x rays.
3. Cramps and joint pain. We are no strangers to aches and pains, but if you don’t feel that some physical activity is the cause, it may be your bone health. Cramps and joint pain are often correlated with deficiencies in Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and all of the minerals essential for healthy bones.
4. Height Loss. You probably already know that osteoporosis, the main bone deterioration disease, causes patients to stoop over and become shorter. While you will not lose inches rapidly, your posture will become more slouched as your bones lose mass and the muscles of your spine are not able to properly support you. Keeping your bones and muscles both healthy from the start is crucial for staying active, healthy, and happy into your senior years.
Dr. Leon E. Popovitz, MD and Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD, along with their team of experienced orthopedic surgeons and pain management specialists, are dedicated to helping their patients get the most out of life. Patients can come to NY Bone and Joint Specialists with any questions or concerns about their musculoskeletal health and receive top quality care for preventing injury, treating orthopedic issues, managing painful conditions, and improving their overall activity and lifestyle.