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What’s the Deal with Osteoporosis?

osteoporosisIf you’re over age 50, you should know about osteoporosis, particularly if you’re a woman. This bone disease occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from something as innocent as a sneeze.

Treating osteoporosis is one of our specialties at Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition. Here’s more information on this far too common condition.

What is osteoporosis?

Your bones are living, growing tissue and they change throughout your life. Most people have misperceptions about their bones; they think they are solid. While they may seem solid, they’re actually a honeycomb with holes and spaces. The word osteoporosis actually means “porous bone.” When a person gets osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb of their bones become much larger than they were when the bones were healthy. This means they have lost density and mass. As they become less dense they become weaker and more likely to break.

Unfortunately, osteoporosis is common in the U.S.; over 54 million Americans have it. Studies point to the fact that one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Mobility can be at risk

Since broken bones are relatively straightforward, people can discount their effect on a person’s life. A broken bone in a young person may just mean a couple months of mending. But in a person with osteoporosis, a broken bone can lead to permanent problems, even death. Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely in the hip, spine, or waist, but other bones can break, as well. It can lead to chronic pain and weight loss. If a person’s osteoporosis affects the vertebrae, it often leads to that person acquiring a stooped, hunched over posture.

Osteoporosis can lead to a person feeling isolated and depressed. Twenty percent of seniors who break a hip die within one year from either complications related to the broken bone itself or from the surgery to repair it. Osteoporosis is the reason many seniors are forced into nursing homes. At Park Avenue Endocrinology our goal is to keep that from happening unless absolutely necessary.

Testing bone density

At Park Avenue, we provide a bone mineral density test for our patients. The test can identify osteoporosis, determine risk for fractures, and quantify responses to osteoporosis treatment. That way we can track changes and adopt an aggressive treatment plan to slow or reverse the bone loss.

If you’re showing any of the signs of osteoporosis, please give us a call at Park Avenue Endocrinology & Nutrition, 212-772-7628.

 

Posted in: Osteoporosis

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