Osteoporosis means “porous bone” and is one of the most common orthopedic conditions. This condition is often overlooked; unfortunately, many patients will not know they have the disease until a fracture occurs. People at most risk for osteoporosis include women, peri-menopausal, and Caucasians.
With the fear of fractures on your mind, osteoporosis can take a toll on your sense of peace. By understanding more about the condition, you do not have to discover it with a fracture. Our team at South Shore Orthopedics has seen many cases over the years and can be here to help you overcome it.
How To Know You Have It
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends routine screening for all women over 65 with Bone Densitometry or DEXA Scan. The DEXA evaluates the density (or quality) of your bone. We recommend DEXA from at least three sites – usually the hip, lumbar spine, and wrist. Results of the DEXA are reported as a T-score.
This value compares your bone density to the “peak bone mass/density” of someone who is 30 years old. Osteoporosis is defined as a T-score of less than -2.5. Regardless of your DEXA results, you may also be diagnosed with osteoporosis if you experience a fragility fracture.
A low-energy mechanism, such as a fall from a standing height, can cause a fragility fracture. A person who experiences a fragility fracture is automatically diagnosed with osteoporosis, regardless of their DEXA score. People are often unaware of their underlying osteoporosis until they experience a fragility fracture.
Additionally, only 15% of fragility fractures receive treatment for underlying osteoporosis. Fragility fractures are very common in patients over 65– four times more common than a stroke. The most common sites of fragility fractures include your spine (vertebral compression fractures), hip, wrist, and shoulder. Prior fragility fracture increases your risk for subsequent fracture by 50%.
There are some aspects of one’s lifestyle that can contribute to this condition. Osteoporosis occurs more frequently in people who experience the following risk factors:
- Low body weight
- History of fragility fracture (personal or family history)
- Autoimmune disease
- Medications (heparin, tetracycline, Lasix, aromatase inhibitors)
There are many essential treatment options to help strengthen your bones. Some of these may not be the best solution for you; it is a very individualized experience to decide the best changes.
- High Protein
- Calcium (1200mg daily) & Vitamin D (800 IU daily)
- Exercise (low-impact, weight-bearing exercises)
- Stationary bike, elliptical machine
- Tai Chi (strength & balance, fall prevention)
- Medical Treatment (requires evaluation and prescription from your doctor)
- Parathyroid analogs (Forteo, Tymlos)
- RANK-L inhibitor (Prolia)
- Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
Work With South Shore Orthopedics
Osteoporosis impacts many people and is important to understand. With these basics, you can start to process what this could look like in your life or someone close to you. Have you been worrying about the strength of your bones as you have aged? Don’t let those feelings remain without considering medical attention. It may be time to check them out. Contact our team today, and we will be happy to get a consultation on the schedule.