With May being osteoporosis awareness month, it is important to remember that the skeletal system is the back bone (pun intended) of our body. Osteoporosis is a horrific disease that can be life threatening. Hip fractures, height loss, vertebrae fractures and other painful symptoms can result from osteoporosis. While this is not an easily detectable disease early in one’s life, there is knowledge available for protecting your health.
Simple aging is one of the biggest factors for the onset of osteoporosis in both men and women, women lose up to 10% of their bone in the first few years after menopause and most women are also Vitamin D deficient, therefore unable to properly absorb calcium. Hormone replacement therapy is critical during this point of a women’s life. Replacing estrogen and testosterone or beginning treatment with bone loss prevention drugs can stop the occurrence or lessen the severity of the disease.
Getting a DEXA scan while important is not the only way to diagnosis osteoporosis. Clinical risk factors such as family history, fracturing after the age of 50 (even wrist/ankle), vitamin D deficiency and BMI less than 20 can be other ways for a physician to diagnose osteoporosis.
One of the main myths about the disease is that it strictly affects women however osteoporosis threatens both men and women. Men have more bone density than women, due to their size, and therefore osteoporosis is usually later onset for them, but still occurs. Having an abundance of information is the key to understanding what how to take preventative measures against the disease. There are ways to stop osteoporosis or revert it back into osteopenia by undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
I urge you to seek an expert in osteoporosis and begin testing and seeking treatment if you are above the age of 50 (that’s you too men). Seek help from someone who understands the importance of each medication because not all osteoporosis medications are safe.
Every time I see an older person walking down the street, humped over with vertebral fractures, it make my heart break….as I know this could have been prevented.