Osteoporosis Complications

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 3, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA on October 3, 2014

Complications of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can have a big impact on quality of life. Lifestyle disruptions range from hospital visits to long-term nursing home care. Osteoporosis patients should be aware of all the potential complications so they can seek solutions before any problems arise.

Lifestyle Disruption

Physical Activity

Osteoporosis can be disabling and limit your physical activity. A loss of activity can increase the risk of other physical problems. Your risk for heart disease and diabetes increases, and any weight gain will increase pressure on aging knee and hip joints.

Depression

A loss of physical activity can lead to a loss of independence. This loss, added to the fear of fractures, can easily bring on depression. And a poor emotional state can further hinder a patient’s ability to manage health issues.

Pain

Fractures caused by osteoporosis can be severely painful and debilitating. Fractures of the spine can result in a loss of height, a stooping posture, and persistent back and neck pain.

Hospital Admission

Some osteoporosis patients break a bone and don’t even notice it. But most broken bones need hospital care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 there were 258,000 hospital admissions for hip fractures in people 65 years of age and older. Surgery is often needed, which can lead to long hospital stays.

Nursing Home Care

All too often, hip fractures can lead to long-term care in nursing homes. Bedridden patients are subject to cardiovascular complications. They are also more exposed to infectious diseases. These are only two reasons that seniors with hip and vertebral (spinal) fractures are at increased risk of death. According to the CDC, 20 percent of hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury due to complications.

Long-Term Outlook

If you feel that osteoporosis has diminished your quality of life, talk with your doctor about possible solutions, especially if you are experiencing any signs of depression. Seek assistance at home from family and friends. Try not to view the changes in your usual activities as a loss of independence. Rather, view them as an opportunity to learn different ways of doing things, to explore new, enjoyable activities, and to spend more time with people you care about. 

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