August 1, 2017
Preventive Medical Services
August 1, 2017

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle and may cause fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?

There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

What are some causes of Osteoporosis ?

A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis  including your age, race, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments.

Some risk factors for osteoporosis are:

  • Your sex.Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
  • The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
  • Family history.Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father experienced a hip fracture.
  • Body frame size.Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
  • Sex hormones.Reduction of estrogen levels in women at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for developing osteoporosis. Men experience a gradual reduction in testosterone levels as they age.
  • Thyroid problems.Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. This can occur if your thyroid is overactive or if you take too much thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid.
  • Low calcium intake.A lifelong lack of calcium plays a role in the development of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Eating disorders.Severely restricting food intake and being underweight weakens bone in both men and women.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery.Surgery to reduce the size of your stomach or to remove part of the intestine limits the amount of surface area available to absorb nutrients, including calcium.
  • Steroids and other medications. Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone and cortisone, Seizures medications, medications for Gastric reflux are also associated with osteoporosis.
  • Medical conditions such as celiac disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Kidney or liver disease, Cancer, Lupus also increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.People who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do those who are more active.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.Regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Tobacco use.The exact role tobacco plays in osteoporosis isn’t clearly understood, but it has been shown that tobacco use contributes to weak bones.

What are the complications of osteoporosis?

Compression fractures

Bone fractures, particularly in the spine or hip, are the most serious complication of osteoporosis.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Your bone density can be measured by a machine that uses low levels of X-rays to determine the proportion of mineral in your bones.

How is osteoporosis treated?

Treatment recommendations are often based on an estimate of your risk of breaking a bone in the next 10 years using information such as the bone density test.

For both men and women at increased risk of fracture, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates. Examples include Alendronate, Risedronate, Ibandronate, Zoledronic acid.

Estrogen, especially when started soon after menopause, can help maintain bone density. However, estrogen therapy can increase the risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer, breast cancer and possibly heart disease.

Raloxifene mimics estrogen’s beneficial effects on bone density in postmenopausal women, without some of the risks associated with estrogen. Hot flashes are a common side effect. Raloxifene also may increase your risk of blood clots.

Denosumab (Prolia). Compared with bisphosphonates, denosumab produces similar or better bone density results and reduces the chance of all types of fractures. Denosumab is delivered via a shot under the skin every six months.

Teriparatide (Forteo). Is similar to parathyroid hormone and stimulates new bone growth. It’s given by daily injection under the skin.