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What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is basically the loss of bone. We have young people with osteoporosis that have metabolic problems that cause their bone loss and we have other people that simply lose it with age. As we age, we intrinsically lose bone.
Why else do people have bone loss?
Another reason we lose bone is because of inactivity.
Why is osteoporosis more prevalent in women?
In the female population, osteoporosis is made worse because of menopause. There are some hormonal changes that occur during that time that actually cause bone to be lost. Women lose it faster than men and at a younger age and that’s why it is more common in that population.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
There really are no symptoms of osteoporosis. It is a painless process. The symptoms occur when somebody has a fracture. The key to diagnosing osteoporosis is for the physician and the patient to suspect the possibility of osteoporosis and order the appropriate tests. There are some very simple tests, including what’s called a Dexa Scan or a bone density test. These are screening tests looking for osteoporosis in patients that don’t know they have it.
Who should be tested for osteoporosis?
There are some very good guidelines that your family practitioner or health care practitioner would know, put out by the National Osteoporosis Foundation. These are built mostly around age. As a person ages, especially a female, they really should seek the evaluation of the physician to find out if they should be tested.
How can osteoporosis be prevented?
Perhaps the best way to prevent osteoporosis is to live an active lifestyle. We know that weight-bearing exercise is probably one of the best things that we can do to prevent osteoporosis. A simple 20-minute to 30-minute walk each day can be your best tool to make sure that you don’t someday break your hip. We do know that calcium intake is very important, especially in the postmenopausal female.
What type of medications treat osteoporosis?
Oral medications are available if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis. The beauty of these medications is that they’re fairly easy to take. Sometimes it’s as little as once a month and we even have a treatment now that’s an IV once a year.
What should I do if I think I might have osteoporosis?
The best thing to do is to talk to your health care practitioner. Treatment can consist of just an exercise program and a change in the diet or addition of calcium and vitamin D. If you don’t have a physician that you can talk to about this, certainly you can call 1-800-82-SHARP and they can refer you to a physician that specializes in osteoporosis.
Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To learn more about orthopedics at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.