How to Get Ahead of Osteoporosis
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that happens when bones become weaker and the risk of having a fracture increases. According to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects about 54 million people in the United States each year. This condition often affects women ages 65 and up and men ages 70 and up. Women are often more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
While any bone in the body can be affected by osteoporosis, the most dangerous bone to break is the hip due to the increased risk of death for up to a year after the hip is fractured. People who fracture their hip often have decreased mobility, a higher cost of rehabilitation, and move into an assisted care facility.
Continue reading to learn more about osteoporosis, what the signs and symptoms are, and how this condition can be prevented.
What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis can affect anyone regardless of gender or background. However, it is most commonly found in those who are non-Hispanic White or Asian. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis a couple of years before menopause while men can develop this condition at any time.
There are NO symptoms of osteoporosis. This condition is often considered a “silent disease” due to the lack of symptoms. Osteoporosis is most commonly diagnosed after a bone fracture occurs. A bone fracture occurs after the bone and bone tissue becomes incredibly fragile. The bone(s) and bone tissue can fracture spontaneously or after minor occurrences such as:
- Bending down or over
- Lifting an object
- Falling over from a standing height
In severe cases of osteoporosis, a common bone fracture is the collapse of multiple vertebrae of the spine. Signs and symptoms of a vertebrae collapse include:
- Sudden loss of height
- Change in the way you walk
- Hunched posture
- Change in balance
- Spine malformations
- Severe back pain
If you are experiencing any symptoms of vertebrae collapse, please contact your doctor immediately.
What are the changeable risk factors of osteoporosis?
No matter your age or the status of your health, you can always take charge and change certain risk factors. Risk factors of osteoporosis that you can change include:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor diet and exercise
- Low calcium levels
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Low hormone levels
These risk factors can be minimized at any time. Talk to your provider about how to get started.
What are the unchangeable risk factors of osteoporosis?
Certain risk factors of osteoporosis can be changed. There are others however that cannot be changed. Unchangeable risk factors of osteoporosis include:
- Having a smaller body frame
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Being non-Hispanic White or Asian
- Being 65 years of age or older
What can be done to prevent osteoporosis?
Due to the lack of signs and symptoms of osteoporosis until a bone is fractured, bone density screenings are crucial to your continued health and well-being. Annual bone density screenings test the strength of your bones by evaluating your estimated bone mass or bone mineral density (BMD). Bone density tests at Village Health Partners include a DXA or DEXA scan comprised of x-rays used to measure the amount minerals, such as calcium, contained in your bone mass. This screening is recommended for women starting at the age of 65 and men starting at the age of 70.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common preventative measure used to combat osteoporosis. This treatment strengthens the bones and prevents the loss of bone mass by maintaining your optimal hormone levels. At Village Health Partners, hormone replacement therapy is prescribed after consultations with your doctor and is recommended for certain individuals based on their specific needs. BioTE is a Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) that is a pellet therapy implanted under your skin. This pellet gradually releases your customized dosage to maintain your optimal hormone levels. BioTE pellets are custom made for you based on your hormone levels, lifestyle, and medical history.
Another way to prevent osteoporosis is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet. Eating foods and drinking beverages rich in calcium can raise your calcium levels. Examples of calcium rich foods and drinks include but are not limited to dairy milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified fruit juices, spinach, collard greens, canned sardines, and tahini. Increase your daily dose of vitamin D by eating or drinking it. Foods rich in vitamin D include but are not limited to milk, canned tuna, salmon, tilapia, yogurt, and mushrooms. Spending time outdoors in the sunshine can help naturally raise your vitamin D levels. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen!
An easy way to prevent osteoporosis is by regularly exercising. Moderate exercise such as walking, yoga, running, or weightlifting can help you strengthen your body and even build your bone strength. It is recommended that you exercise for at least 30 minutes at four times a week. If you’re not sure which exercises are right for you, consult your provider.
Schedule an appointment for a bone density screening or hormone replacement therapy by texting your preferred location below:
- West Plano Medical Village: Text (469) 382-4891
- Independence Medical Village: Text (469) 382-3548
- McKinney Medical Village: Text (469) 382-3717
- Frisco Medical Village: Text (469) 382 - 3415