Osteoporosis is a process that develops within the bones and makes them fragile and more likely to fracture. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is common in older women. According to studies, 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
A bone density or DEXA scan can determine whether or not you have osteoporosis. This test can also detect osteopenia, which is the transition state from normal bone health to osteoporosis and is the best stage to begin treatment. Osteoporosis is treatable with medication and lifestyle changes.
Although osteoporosis is most commonly a process of female aging, males can also develop this condition. Certain risk factors, including medications, smoking, immobility and family history, increase the probability of osteoporosis. Additionally, osteoporosis can occur with other associated systemic diseases.
We recommend consulting with your physician to discuss if a DEXA scan is right for you.
Specialists who treat osteoporosis:
- Rheumatologist – physician who diagnoses (detect), treats and medically manages patients who suffer from arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
- Endocrinologists – physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the endocrine system.
- Orthopedic Surgeon – physician who manages special problems of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons diagnose your injury or disorder, provide treatment with medication, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans, encourage rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function. Orthopedic surgeons prepare patients for surgery as advanced stages of osteoporosis require surgical correction.
- Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation – is a medical specialty concerned with diagnosis, evaluation, and management of persons of all ages with physical and/or cognitive impairment and disability.
- Pain Medicine – the field of medicine that is concerned with the prevention of pain, and the evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of persons in pain.
- Physical Therapist - health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility through developing fitness and wellness programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Osteoporosis symptoms may include:
- Gradual loss of height and an accompanying stooped posture
- Fractures of the spine, wrist or hip
Risk Factors & Prevention
Women Are at Risk for Osteoporosis
Men and women lose bone strength as they grow older, but women have higher risk for osteoporosis because they frequently have smaller, thinner frames. The risk for women increases greatly following menopause, with the decrease in bone-protecting estrogen. One in two women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis, yet nearly 80 percent remain undiagnosed because symptoms do not occur until much bone strength is lost.
Risk factors for osteoporosis may include:
- Advanced age
- History of bone fractures
- Small, thin frame
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Early menopause
- Low calcium diet
- Lack of exercise
- History of eating disorders
- Use of certain medicines (such as steroids or anticonvulsants)
- Alcohol and tobacco use
Reduce the onset of osteoporosis by getting:
- Adequate amounts of calcium
- Adequate amounts of vitamin D
- Regular exercise