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Osteoporosis - Bone up on the Facts

Listen to the Good Health Radio Hour: Osteoporosis featuring Dr. Michelle Hatherill

10 million people in the United States already have osteoporosis and 18 million more have low bone mass.

Osteoporosis is a disease that progresses over time. It causes bones to become thin and brittle and may increase your risk for breaking bones such as a hip, spine, wrist or ankle, in the future.

Get more information by mail, including a brochure with ways to help you reduce the effects of osteoporosis. Call us at 330-344-6365.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 10 million people in the United States already have osteoporosis and 18 million more have low bone mass (osteopenia) and are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Most people think that they don't have to worry about osteoporosis until they reach 60 years of age or over, but the loss of bone mass begins earlier for women, starting at menopause as estrogen levels decrease. Men are also at risk for osteoporosis after age 50 as testosterone levels begin to decrease.

Who is at risk?
The average person reaches their maximum bone mass by their mid-thirties. The risk of osteoporosis does increase as you age, but there are other risk factors to consider. Want to keep good bone health? Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors for osteoporosis that may include:

  • A family history of osteoporosis
  • Lost height or a curved spine
  • Post-menopausal women
  • Being of small frame or extremely thin
  • Having little or no exercise
  • Smoking
  • Diets containing little or no calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and a diet high in soft drinks (3 or more a day)
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Extended use of certain medications (such as steroids) and medications that treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, breast cancer or thyroid disease
  • Early Detection
    Most people with early osteoporosis don't have any symptoms or warning signs. As the disease progresses, you may begin to experience back pain, a curved backbone or loss in height or you may brake a hip, wrist, spine or ankle in a minor accident.

    With the help of your doctor, a quick screening can help determine if you have osteoporosis. This most current screening method is a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, a non-invasive, painless procedure very much like an X-ray. The radiation passes through the body to a detector, which generates a computer image. The computer assigns a number value to the image that indicates if the patient has normal bone mass, low bone mass, also called osteopenia, or the lowest bone mass, osteoporosis. The scan takes approximately 15 minutes.

    Age 50 is a good time to start with a baseline bone density screening. Most patients work with their doctors to have a repeat screening in two years. Patients who have certain risk factors for osteoporosis may need to be screened even sooner.

    Akron General offers four convenient locations for the DXA Scan including:

    Akron General Medical Center

    Akron General Edwin Shaw Rehab

    Akron General Health & Wellness Center - West

    Lodi Community Hospital

    Appointments can be scheduled by calling 330-996-5760 or 1-800-343-2462 or you can have your doctor's office schedule the appointment for you. A referral from your primary care doctor or gynecologist is required for the DXA Scan.

     Date Updated: 16-JUN-2014

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