Osteoporosis

 

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Osteoporosis

October 15, 2014

 

 

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?

People 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?

While 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?

There 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?

The 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?

The 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?

Like 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?

All 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?

Yes!! 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.

 

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