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?
A familiy history of osteoporosis
Lost height or a curved spine
Being of small frame or extremely thin
Having little or no exercise
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
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:
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.
Living with Osteoporosis
If your scan shows normal bone mass, continue to be aware of osteoporosis risk factors and talk to your doctor about any changes you may notice.
If you are diagnosed with low bone mass (osteopenia) or osteoporosis, there are now several medications that can help you reduce some of the damage.
Other ways to reduce the effects of osteoporosis include lifestyle changes:
Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D (low fat yogurt, cheese, broccoli, sardines, and green leafy vegetables)
Stop smoking and limit alcohol intake.
Reduce your risk of fractures
Get regular exercise (4-6 times a week for 30 minutes)
Make your home safe to avoid accidents (No throw rugs, good lighting, no clutter, rubber soled shoes, use hand-rails)
Take care of your spine.-Practice good posture (sit straight, shoulders back)
-Lift properly (bend at knees, not at waist)
Include the following types of exercise in your daily life:-Resistance exercises to build muscle strength and maintain bone mass (lift small weights 2-3 lbs., use flex bands)
-Non-weight-bearing exercises to prevent back strain and pain (swimming)
-Weight-bearing activities to help maintain bone mass (walking, biking)
Talk to your doctor about bone health.
Have a DXA scan and take medication when appropriate.
This information should not be considered specific medical advice, may not cover all situations, and is not meant to replace professional medical service. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your physician.
Date Updated: 19-DEC-2006