Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease of the bones. As the condition worsens, bone mass deteriorates and becomes fragile. When this occurs, bones are far more susceptible to fractures of all types. All of the body’s bones can suffer from osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis causes an average of 1.5 million fractures annually. Half of women and one quarter of men over age 50 are expected to experience an osteoporosis-related fracture during their lifetime. In the United States, 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis, with an additional 35 million suspected of having low-bone mass, a precursor to the disease. This is more than half of the U.S. population of people 50 years and older. The disease can occur at any age, though it is far more common after age 50.
Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis, especially following menopause. A family history of low bone mass or low levels of vitamin D are also risk factors. Men with low testosterone levels are also more at risk. Some methods of osteoporosis prevention which are also good habits for overall good health.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis rarely shows any symptoms. A bone fracture is often the first indication. By that time, bones may have become so brittle that seemingly ordinary strain or pressure can cause a fracture or collapse of the bone
Prevention & Treatment
For osteoporosis, we use prevention methods which are also good habits for overall health. These include eating a well-balanced diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, exercise, strength training and refraining from alcohol and tobacco. Most importantly, you should have regular checkups and tests for signs of osteoporosis. Bone densitometry, a painless procedure that is becoming more prevalent, is used to measure the degree of bone thinning. Most adults who have had a fracture should have a bone density measurement to see if they are at risk for developing more fractures. We routinely recommend a bone mineral density test for patients who are at increased risk. The test can be scheduled through our office.