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Bone Health & Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Examination & Treatment

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means "porous bone" and it is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced. As bones become more fragile and brittle, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. This thinning and loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. There are often no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. These fractures can be disabling and may make it hard for you to live independently. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), there are nearly 300,000 hip fracture patients annually, and 25% end up in nursing homes and 50% never regain previous function. 

What causes Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is caused by a lack of bone strength or bone density. As you age, your bones get thinner naturally. But there are some risk factors that may make you more likely to have the severe bone thinning of osteoporosis. Possible risk factors include being over 50, being a woman who has gone through menopause, having a slender body frame, family background, not getting enough exercise, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D. For example, according to the NOF, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms?

Osteoporosis can be very far along before you notice it. Sometimes the first sign is a broken bone in your hip, spine, or wrist after a bump or fall. As the disease gets worse, you may have other signs, such as pain in your back. Our goal at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists is to catch the disease early, before the first osteoporotic fracture. The probability of additional osteoporotic fractures goes up exponentially after the first fracture occurs.

How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

You can schedule an appointment with an NWOS provider. Our team understands that healthy bones are essential for keeping people healthy and active. They take a proactive approach by beginning osteoporosis examinations early, ideally before bone density is low and before the first osteoporotic fracture occurs. The first step is often to order a bone density scan to detect bone mineral density and then based on the results, a treatment plan can be customized that includes nutrition, exercise, and medications to maintain bone strength. 

Because osteoporosis and loss of bone strength can occur long before symptoms, it is important to schedule an examination early, especially if you fit one or more of the osteoporosis risk factors. For example, if you are a woman that has gone through menopause recently, we recommend scheduling an examination sooner rather than later, as women lose up to 20% of their bone density in the five-to-seven years after menopause.

How is Osteoporosis treated?

Osteoporosis and loss of bone density can be slowed with new, healthy habits. If you smoke, quitting is recommended. Incorporate moderate exercise into your routine - walking, jogging, dancing, and lifting weights can make your bones stronger. Exercises that increase your strength and balance are also important. Nutrition is vital, which includes limiting the amount of highly processed foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium and/or refined sugars & flours, and eating a variety of nutrient rich foods, including foods high in Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium. There are also medicines that can help to reduce bone loss and to build bone thickness. Medicine can also provide relief from pain caused by fractures or other changes to your bones.

When you have osteoporosis, it's extra important to protect yourself from falling. Reduce your risk of a fracture by making your home as safe as possible. Make sure there's plenty of light in your home. Remove rugs and clutter that could cause you to lose your balance. Make sure the handrails on your stairs are sturdy.

Why choose Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists?

At Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists, our providers are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and care of Osteoporosis. They understand that healthy, strong bones are essential for keeping people active and leading long, independent lives.

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To consult with one of our orthopedic specialists, please request an appointment online, or call 888-660-2663.

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Once you have scheduled your appointment, please use the link below to obtain our new patient forms and browse through tips and preparation suggestions for your appointment.

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