Understanding Osteoporosis

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This information has been reviewed and approved by Barbara L. Goldstein, MD, MMSc, Mehrnaz Maleki, MD and
Ann Mullen, AE-C, CNS, MSN, RN. (May 2015).

 

Understanding Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease that weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. It is a “silent disease,” because bone loss occurs without symptoms.

 

Risk Factors

  • Women and postmenopausal women
  • Men with significant smoking history
  • Family history
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Getting older
  • Low testosterone levels (men)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Thin and/or small frame
  • Calcium and vitamin D deficiency
  • Corticosteroids and anti-seizure medications
  • Medical conditions that weaken calcium absorption

 

Diagnosis

Bone densitometry (DEXA) X-ray:

  • Detects osteoporosis before a fracture occurs
  • Predicts chances of fracturing in the future
  • Determines rate of bone loss
  • Monitors the effects of treatment

 

Treatment

Follow your doctor’s recommendations.

  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Eat dairy and dark leafy and green vegetables.
  • Take prescribed medications.

 

Prevention

  • Walk or jog regularly.
  • Eat dairy products and dark leafy and green vegetables daily.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
 

More Information on Understanding Osteoporosis

 

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