Osteoporosis at NAO
Oftentimes, it isn’t until a patient has suffered a fall and a fracture do they learn they may have (or be at risk for) osteoporosis. At the Arthritis and Fracture Care Center, patients with osteoporosis can receive care from providers who have special education and training in fractures, bone health, physical therapy and nutrition. This team helps patients who have experienced a fracture due to weak bones navigate their care, manage their condition, and decide on the right treatment plan to improve bone health and prevent future fractures.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is a thinning of the bones, causing them to fracture (break) more easily. It is most commonly associated with older women, although men and younger people can also develop this disease.
Chances are you or someone you know has osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects both men and women. It’s occurrence increases with age and is more common in women after they go through menopause. One in three women and one in 12 men over the age of 50 will have a fracture, affecting around 28 million people and resulting in more than 1.5 million fractures of the back, wrists and hips each year. Eighty percent of those affected are women and 20 percent are men.
A DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan provides a direct measurement of bone density. It is currently the most accurate and reliable means of assessing the strength of your bones and your risk of breaking a bone. The scan is fast (about 10 minutes), accurate and painless and the dose of radiation used is extremely low. It’s easy too, you just have to remove your shoes. Anyone, male or female, who displays one or more of the risk factors for osteoporosis, irrespective of age, should have a DEXA scan. The earlier osteoporosis is identified, the more can be done to prevent its progress. As a result, women in their 30’s should consider having a scan, for comparison purposes in later years.
Are you at Risk for Osteoporosis?
There are certain risks that you should know about that can increase your chances of having Osteoporosis. Risk factors include:
- History of fracture in the wrist, hip or back from a ground-level fall
- Decrease in the estrogen hormone (i.e., post-menopausal)
- Lack of calcium and Vitamin D in diet
- Smoking, alcohol consumption, use of certain medicines
- Lack of exercise
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Female, over age 50
- Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
- Anorexia nervosa
- Low testosterone levels in men