Osteoporosis, which is a disease that affects the strength and density of the bones, is extremely common. It is estimated that more than three million Americans are newly diagnosed with this condition each year, resulting in more than 50 million annual cases of osteoporosis.
While anyone can develop osteoporosis, certain risk factors greatly increase your chances of developing brittle, weak bones:
- Being Caucasian or Asian
- Being female
- Being over the age of 60
- Low body weight
- Low sex hormone levels
- Small body frame
Although osteoporosis is most common in older individuals, bone mass gradually starts to decrease – sometimes by as much as one percent each year – as early as the age of 30. Taking preventive measures when young, such as exercising and getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D, is an essential part of life-long bone health.
Osteoporosis Diagnosis & Symptoms
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a bone fracture occurs. Considered a “silent” disease, osteoporosis can develop over the course of many years without producing any noticeable symptoms. Being vigilant about potential signs of bone loss is extremely important, as taking measures to fend off osteoporosis early can help prevent dangerous fractures down the line. Talk to your doctor about your risk for osteoporosis if you notice:
- Bone pain or low back pain
- Spinal curvature
- Height loss
A diagnostic test called a bone mineral density scan, or DEXA scan, is an X-ray specifically geared toward detecting loss of bone density. Images of your bones are compared to healthy bone benchmarks for someone of your age, gender, and ethnicity. Your doctor may order a DEXA scan if you are at an increased risk for osteoporosis or exhibit any of the symptoms listed above.
Osteoporosis Treatment in Texas and Florida
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, treatments will likely include calcium, vitamin D, specialized osteoporosis medication, physical therapy, and strength training. Treatment may vary if you are experiencing osteoporosis pain due to a bone fracture. Back pain due to a fracture of one of the spinal vertebrae can be especially debilitating and may require surgery. At Physician Partners of America locations across Texas and Florida, we offer osteoporosis pain treatment and vertebral fracture treatments such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. These minimally invasive procedures can help heal a vertebral fracture caused by osteoporosis so that you can get back to living your life.