Osteoporosis Q & A
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes brittle bones. When your bones are weak and fragile, you have a much higher risk of fractures. Sometimes, osteoporosis can be so severe that bones get damaged from relatively small movements like sneezing.
While osteoporosis can be quite damaging, there’s good news: you can often prevent it if you know the risk factors and take appropriate steps to avoid it.
Am I at risk for osteoporosis?
One of the most important things you can do in terms of osteoporosis prevention is to know whether you’re at risk. The main risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Being a woman
- Age – your risk for osteoporosis increases with age
- Family history – if your parents had osteoporosis, you’re more likely to have it yourself
- History of fractures
- Body frame – the smaller and thinner you are, the more vulnerable you may be to osteoporosis
- Menopause – estrogen depletion during menopause raises your risk for osteoporosis
There are other risk factors that can contribute, especially if you already have one or more of the main risk factors above. Additional risk factors include:
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Smoking cigarettes
- Using steroids
While you can’t control the first set of risk factors, you do have control over things like activity level, smoking, drinking, and drug use. Often, you can take control of your life to avoid osteoporosis.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
Unified Premier Women’s Care has a bone density testing machine on-site. With this machine, your OB/GYN can scan your hips and spine to determine your bone density, and therefore your chances of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis in the future.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women 65 and up (age 70 for men) have a bone density test. If you break a bone at age 50 or older, or if you’re of menopausal age with osteoporosis risk factors, you may need to have a bone density scan earlier.
What is the treatment for osteoporosis?
If you have osteoporosis, your OB/GYN may prescribe a bisphosphonate medication to add bone density. Special weight-bearing exercises may help strengthen your bones as well. Additionally, your doctor may recommend supplements like vitamin D and calcium to help strengthen your bones.
Worried about osteoporosis? Reach out for help now by calling Unified Premier Women’s Care to schedule.