Osteoporosis risk factors include a family history of the disease, female gender, menopause, low testosterone levels, having a thin frame, advancing age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption, smoking, low calcium diet, low Vitamin D, and lack of exercise.
Certain medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and overactive parathyroid glands can contribute to bone loss. Several medications including steroids and some medications prescribed for seizures, breast cancer, diabetes, heartburn, or depression can also cause bone loss.
Many patients are classified as having a low bone density, or osteopenia, which can still increase the risk for fractures and progress to osteoporosis so it will require careful monitoring as well as appropriate treatment to minimize further bone loss.
It is important to note that osteoporosis often does not present with any symptoms so patients are often unaware that they have the disease until they suffer a bone fracture. Spinal fractures can cause back pain, loss in height, and poor posture. Hip fractures can cause disability and even death from complications.
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) bone density testing is a 10-minute imaging scan that takes a picture of the bone using very low-dose x-rays to help determine bone strength.
Women should always inform their physician or DEXA technologist, prior to the test, if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.
Once a patient is determined to have a low bone mineral density, our Rheumatologists perform a thorough history and examination along with a complete laboratory work-up to assess for any secondary causes. Risk assessment tools are used which integrate clinical risk factors and DEXA scanning to assess the probability of fracture.
Fortunately, osteoporosis is a preventable and treatable disease and the risk of fracture can be decreased with proper nutrition, supplements, and regular weight bearing exercise. Medications may also be used to maintain or increase bone density and decrease the risk of bone fracture.
Our goal at GCSP is to offer multiple options under one roof so you can find the care you want and need. By choosing your care at GCSP, we can take a team approach to ensure you are receiving the best options for you.
Let Us Help You "Keep Your Bones Healthy" by scheduling an appointment today!