Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone.
Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially older women who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.
AM I AT RISK?
If you have one or more of the following risk factors, we recommend coming in for free testing:
- Having a family history of osteoporosis. If your mother, father, or a sibling has been diagnosed with osteoporosis or has experienced broken bones from a minor injury, you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle factors. These include:
- Smoking. People who smoke lose bone density faster than nonsmokers.
- Alcohol use. Heavy alcohol use can decrease bone formation, and it increases the risk of falling. Heavy alcohol use is more than 2 drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women.
- Getting little or no exercise. Weight-bearing exercises—such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights—keep bones strong and healthy by working the muscles and bones against gravity. Exercise may improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling.
- Being small-framed or thin. Thin people and those with small frames are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
- A diet low in foods containing calcium and vitamin D.
- Having certain medical conditions. Some medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, put you at greater risk for osteoporosis.
- Taking certain medicines. Several medicines, such as corticosteroids used for long periods, cause bone thinning.
- Having certain surgeries, such as having your ovaries removed before menopause.
How is it tested?
The most common way is with a bone density test called a DEXA. Although they are painless and accurate, they are costly and take up to 20 minutes, scanning multiple parts of your body.
We have a special new device called a Bindex machine. It is quick, painless, and takes place in our office. These results will let you know if your bone density requires further testing, like a DEXA.
You can watch an overview of the test here:
The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968
University of Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/te7603