Osteoporosis

Contents

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes thinning and weakening of normal bone—literally “porous bone.” Osteoporosis is defined as a decrease in bone mass density (BMD). Patients with osteoporosis will have weaker bones and a greater risk of fractures. The bones most often affected are the hips, spine, and wrists.

There are two main varieties of osteoporosis, Type I and Type II. Estrogen deficiency can lead to Type I osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Type II osteoporosis is due to aging and calcium deficiency over many years. This occurs in men. But, it is twice as common in women.

Who is Affected by Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans, with 80% of all diagnoses made in women. Another 34 million Americans have low bone mass and an increased risk for osteoporosis.

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What are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?

Estrogen deficiency is one of the main causes of bone loss in women during and after menopause. Some women lose as much as 20% of their bone mass in the five to seven years following menopause. Additional factors that contribute to osteoporosis are:

Lifestyle Factors

Physical inactivity, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, dietary calcium and vitamin D deficiency, and certain medications can increase your risk.

Talk to your doctor if you have lifestyle risks.

Age

Bones become less dense and weaker with age.

Race

While people of all races may develop the disease, Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk.

Body Weight

People who weigh less and have lower muscle mass are at greater risk for developing osteoporosis.

Family History

Your risk of osteoporosis is higher if members of your family have suffered from bone disease.

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What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because frequently, there are no symptoms until a fracture occurs. However,

  • Some people may have pain in their bones and muscles, particularly in their back.
  • Occasionally, a collapsed vertebra may cause severe pain, decrease in height, or deformity in the spine.

These symptoms of osteoporosis may resemble other bone disorders or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

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How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?

Physicians should review women’s lifestyle practices regularly, and practices that help to reduce the risk for osteoporosis should be encouraged.

A woman's risk for falls should be evaluated at least once a year after menopause has occurred.

A woman's height and weight should be measured annually, and she should be assessed for kyphoses (collapsed vertebrae) and back pain.

Tests for Osteoporosis

One of the best ways for a physician to know whether a patient has osteoporosis is through a bone mineral density (BMD) exam. The most popular way to measure BMD is through a quick, easy procedure known as a DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) evaluation.

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Can I Schedule an Appointment for a DXA Evaluation?

If you have not had a DXA evaluation, an order from your provider is required before your bone density exam can be scheduled. Please obtain an order from your healthcare provider.

Then, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule an appointment.

If you have already had a DXA evaluation, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule a consultation. Please have your physician’s name, your insurance information, and the location where you had the DXA evaluation with you when you call.

Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

Some of the methods used to treat osteoporosis are also the methods to help prevent it from developing, including the following:

  • Maintain an appropriate body weight.
  • Increase walking and other weight-bearing exercises.
  • Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Maintain an adequate intake of calcium through diet and supplements. Vitamin D is also necessary because it facilitates the absorption of calcium.
  • Prevent falls in the elderly to prevent fractures (i.e., install hand railings, or assistive devices in the bathroom, shower, etc.).
  • Consult your physician regarding a medication regimen.

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What if I Have Osteoporosis?

The goals of managing osteoporosis are to

  • Decrease pain
  • Prevent fractures
  • Minimize further bone loss

The good news is that your physician can help you treat osteoporosis so that bone loss, fracture, and pain are less likely to affect your life. You can change dietary and lifestyle behaviors to help improve your bone health, including taking calcium and vitamin D and exercising. Your physician can discuss these options with you. In addition, several prescription medications are now available that can help prevent and treat osteoporosis and related fractures. Your physician can use the results of your bone density evaluation to help develop a treatment plan that best meets your needs.

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Can I Schedule a Consultation?

If you have already had a DXA evaluation, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule a consultation. Please have your physician’s name, your insurance information, and the location where you had the DXA evaluation with you when you call.

If you have not had a DXA evaluation, an order from your provider is required before your bone density exam can be scheduled. Please obtain an order from your healthcare provider.

Then, call (585) 275-5321 to schedule an appointment.

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