Don't Get Low, Get To Know The Facts About Osteoporosis

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 54 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose density, become weak and fracture more easily.

To help diagnose and treat osteoporosis, Harbin Clinic offers DEXA scans to measure your bone density, which is a measure of the amount of bone you have. DEXA scans can estimate the strength of your bones and help predict the likelihood of developing osteoporosis or having a fracture.

“Osteoporosis is called a silent disease, because patients cannot feel their bones getting weaker,” says Harbin Clinic Rheumatologist Dr. Nonyelum Ejieke. “It is a pain-free, symptomless disease, and the first sign is usually a fracture.”

Risk Factors

One out of two women and one out of five men will be affected by osteoporosis in their lifetime. Women have a greater risk for developing osteoporosis after menopause. Men who are over 50 are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to get prostate cancer. Individuals over 65 years old are also at a higher risk, because the body’s ability to produce new bone tissue decreases as you age.

Diagnostic Testing

In order to determine if you’re at risk for osteoporosis, Harbin Clinic offers DEXA scanning to find your T-score and FRAX-score. A DEXA scan is a quick and painless procedure that measures your bone mineral density as a T-score. You can then use your T-score, along with other risk factors, to find your FRAX-score, which estimates your risk of a bone fracture due to osteoporosis.

“Your T-score and FRAX-score can give you an overall snapshot of your bone health,” says Harbin Clinic Rheumatologist Dr. Jeffrey Peller. “By finding those scores, you and your doctor can work together to determine your bone status and start either preventative action or treatment.”

If you’re worried about osteoporosis, make sure you schedule a visit with your primary care physician to see if you need to get a DEXA scan.

Healthy Bone Habits

Lifestyle changes and healthy habits may aid in slowing down and preventing bone density loss.

“You are never too old or too young to improve your bone health,” says Harbin Clinic Rheumatologist Dr. Keith Rott. “One of the best ways to prevent bone density loss is to begin practicing good, bone-health habits.”

Dr. Rott suggests a few items people can do to help

  • Aim for 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise daily, such as walking, to strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Include calcium-rich foods in your diet to help build and protect your bones.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for a calcium supplement, a vitamin D supplement and a check of your vitamin D levels to promote calcium absorption, which can further strengthen your bones.

Harbin Clinic cares completely about the health and wellness of your bones and joints. Visit your primary care physician to schedule a DEXA scan and to learn more about preventing and treating osteoporosis.