Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to porous, fragile bones that are prone to fractures. It is often thought of as a woman’s disease but can affect men as well. Although the disease is not life threatening, it can lead to serious fractures and loss of mobility, especially in seniors. Discuss your risk of osteoporosis with your physician to find out if you need to be screened or if there are steps you can take to reduce the chances that you will develop it.
Osteoporosis can occur at any age but is most common after age 50. At this age, the rate of bone loss increases dramatically, especially in women. For men, the onset is often later. Women begin to lose bone density rapidly at this age because of declining amounts of estrogen due to menopause.
In addition to menopause, there are other things that can cause osteoporosis to happen earlier in life. These risks include:
- Lack of exercise
- Certain medications
Physicians can screen for osteoporosis with a bone mineral density scan test, or DEXA scan. This painless test uses x-ray technology to determine if you have low bone density, so that you can begin treatment to prevent further bone loss if necessary.
This test can also be used to confirm an osteoporosis diagnosis and track the effectiveness of treatments if you have already been diagnosed.
Medications, including hormone therapy, may be recommended for osteoporosis. Your physician may also recommend that you make dietary changes and get more exercise to improve your muscle strength and balance.
Fall prevention is also an important part of osteoporosis treatment. Because bones are very vulnerable to fractures during falls when you have osteoporosis, prevention is critical. Your provider can give you information about changes you can make at home to prevent falls.
Could you be at risk of osteoporosis? Request a referral to a physician in San Jose at Good Samaritan hospital to find out. We offer comprehensive diagnostic imaging services as well as emergency care for fractures when needed. To call our hospital, dial (888) 724-2362.