What are the possible complications of osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Vertebral fractures from osteoporosis may lead to prolonged immobilization and medication use, which carry a range of complications. [113]

Complications of prolonged immobilization include the following:

  • Deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism
  • Infections
  • Pressure sores
  • Decreased muscle strength, 10-15% per week
  • Decreased bone mass
  • Cardiac effects - postural hypotension, decreased cardiac function
  • Gastrointestinal effects - constipation, fecal impaction
  • Neurosensory side effects - restlessness, anxiety, depression, fear, rapid mood changes, insomnia, hostility, pain intolerance, impaired intellectual and perceptual functioning

Complications of the medications used to relieve symptoms of vertebral fractures include the following:

  • Narcotics - constipation, somnolence, dependence
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - peptic ulcer disease, cardiovascular effects, kidney and liver effects, aspirin-exacerbated respiratory effects
  • Muscle relaxants - somnolence, dizziness, anticholinergic effects, weakness

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