May is National Osteoporosis Month, a perfect time to learn more about this relatively common condition and why bone density testing matters. The team at Calvary Medical Clinic is happy to join with health care professionals across the nation in promoting awareness and prevention of osteoporosis.
At Calvary Medical Clinic, we have a stellar staff of highly skilled primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who are committed to offering comprehensive medical care that includes screening and treatment for issues such as osteoporosis.
With offices in Cleveland, Livingston, and Humble, Texas, we provide year-round bone density testing that’s quick and convenient.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition in which your bones become less dense and more prone to fractures. Even a minor fall could cause you to break a hip or wrist when you have moderate osteoporosis. Advanced osteoporosis can lead to spinal compression fractures that may occur with coughing, simply bending over, or without any sort of trauma at all.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will suffer broken bones due to osteoporosis. Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent and/or treat osteoporosis.
What causes osteoporosis?
Your bones go through a constant state of natural renewal, during which old bony tissue is replaced with new. Physicians refer to this as remodeling. Osteoporosis occurs when you lose more bone mass than you gain during remodeling.
Who is at risk for osteoporosis?
Bone density typically peaks at about age 30. After that, the bone renewal process slows down. Those with a lower level of bone mass at their peak are generally more prone to developing osteoporosis. Decreased peak bone mass is often due to genetics.
Many other factors, however, also increase your risk of developing osteoporosis, including:
- Small body frame size
- Thyroid disorders
- Low calcium intake
- Eating disorders that compromise nutrition
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Certain medications, especially long-term corticosteroid use
- Medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Being underweight
Age-related hormonal changes, such as decreased estrogen production in women and lower testosterone levels in men, are linked to osteoporosis as well. Obesity also increases the risk of fractures in the wrists or arms.
What is bone density testing and how does it help prevent osteoporosis?
A bone density test is a painless procedure that uses images obtained via X-rays to calculate your bone mass or density. The results help determine whether changes in lifestyle and/or treatment is necessary to help prevent or stall the progression of early bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
Depending on the outcome of the bone density test, your Calvary Medical Clinic provider may recommend:
- Increased physical exercise
- Nutritious diet
- Healthy weight gain or loss
- Hormone-related therapy
If necessary, your provider may also recommend oral medications designed to help build and preserve bone tissue.