When you look at the numbers for osteoporosis, it’s a little surprising: up to half of all women and a quarter of men will get some degree of osteoporosis. This can lead to broken bones and complications as a result of these fractures.
But what exactly causes osteoporosis? And if so many people get it, is there a way to avoid it? Here are the facts about this disease that affects so many lives:
- Many risk factors for osteoporosis cannot be controlled. Women are more at risk due to hormonal changes and having smaller bones in general. People at highest risk generally have small, thin frames and are over the age of 60.
- Many people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. There are typically no symptoms until the loss of bone mass has already occurred. Fractures, a hunched back, or getting shorter due to collapsed vertebrae in the spine are usually flags that bones may be losing density.
- A bone densitometry test, which is a type of x-ray, is the best way to detect osteoporosis. Unfortunately, many people at risk of this disease don’t get one. If you’re over 60, ask your physician if you should get this test.
- You can do some things to help prevent osteoporosis. These include taking calcium and vitamin D supplements, getting regular exercise, and not smoking. Exercise helps you build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the stronger your bones will be. Talk with your physician about what calcium supplement you should take, and how much vitamin D you need.
- Treatments are available if you already have it. Many medications are effective in slowing bone loss if you have osteoporosis. Your physician can help you find one that works best for you.
- Focus on fall prevention. Keep floors clear of clutter, and make sure they’re not slippery. Use non-slip rubber mats in the bath or shower, and wear shoes with good traction in the house. Use caution on stairs and make sure all rooms and stairways have lights that are accessible to you.
Not everyone can prevent osteoporosis entirely, but if you see your physician regularly and get recommended screenings, you’re taking an important step. You and your physician can work on a plan to help you keep your bones strong. If you haven’t seen your physician in over a year, now is the time to make an appointment to discuss how you can lead the healthiest life possible.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.