What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a
condition in which the bones have lost much of their mineral and are
weak. It is commonly known as “brittle bones”.
Why is Osteoporosis important?
who have significant Osteoporosis are at greater risk for broken bones.
This is particularly important in the spine and hip.
Why are the spine and hip so important in Osteoporosis?
all bone breaks are important, hip and spine fractures are particularly
important because they can cause problems with mobility in the elderly
(a population that already may have problems with getting around
independently). When the elderly become less mobile, they begin to
suffer greater medical problems in general.
How can I find out if I have Osteoporosis?
are several tests that can make the diagnosis of Osteoporosis. These
tests are not done on a routine basis but may be ordered by your doctor
if you have risk factors for Osteoporosis or if your doctor otherwise
suspects that you may have Osteoporosis.
What makes a person at risk for Osteoporosis?
risk factors for Osteoporosis include being female (and post-menopausal
or otherwise deficient in estrogen), being small-framed, being
Caucasian or Asian, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, certain medications,
excessive alcohol intake, personal history of broken bones, certain
diseases, certain dietary factors, and family history.
What can I do to prevent Osteoporosis?
best way to prevent osteoporosis is to make sure you get sufficient
calcium and vitamin D, proper diet, get plenty of exercise, engage in
weight resistance exercise, and stop smoking.
I heard that calcium is bad for you. What should I do about my calcium intake?
everything else, calcium intake must be tailored to the individual.
There have been some recent reports about increased calcium intake and
the risk of heart disease. However the data that has come from that
report applies to some people and not others. It is best to talk to your
doctor about your specific situation and decide how to get the
appropriate amount of calcium.
If I already have Osteoporosis, what should I do?
of the above “preventive” measures should be addressed. Additionally,
you may need to start medications for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Again, talk to your doctor about creating a regimen of diet, exercise,
medication and lifestyle modification that is right for your specific
situation. Most primary care doctors feel comfortable evaluating and
managing Osteoporosis. If you and your doctor feel you need to see a
specialist, you may be referred to a Rheumatologist or Endocrinologist.
Can men get Osteoporosis?
In fact, there is a common assumption that only women get Osteoporosis.
However, 2 million American men have osteoporosis and 12 million
American men are at risk. The risk factors that are present for women
also apply to men. Of course, it is not the estrogen status that we look
at in men but their relative levels of the male hormone, testosterone.