Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones,” and it is a condition in which the bones become thinner and weaker and, thus, more liable to break. Osteoporosis causes about two million fractures every year. Most such fractures involve the wrist, spine or hips. Hip fractures can be particularly dangerous, for the healing process requires the patient to stay in bed for a long time, and that increases the chances of the patient developing pneumonia or blood clots. Osteoporosis is most common in older women; about eighty percent of patients are women. They usually have lighter bones to start with and the hormonal changes caused by menopause increase the amount of bone their bodies lose. If you have this condition, seeking out your options regarding osteoporosis treatments is definitely worthwhile.
What are the Symptoms?
Osteoporosis is an insidious condition that causes no symptoms during its early stages. Over time, however, the patient will notice the following symptoms:
• A bone that breaks more easily than expected
• Stooped posture
• Loss of height
• Back pain caused by a collapsed or fractured vertebra
How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
There are several tests that can measure the density of a patient’s bones. One of the most common tests is the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA). It is a type of X-ray usually done on the patient’s hip or spine. The DEXA scanner produces two X-ray beams; one is low-energy, and the other is high-energy. The machine measures the amount of energy from each beam that passes through the bone. The medical professional will use the results to calculate the density of the patient’s bones.
How is Osteoporosis Treated?
While there is no cure for this condition, there are osteoporosis treatments available that can slow the bone loss and strengthen weakened bones. Most such treatments involve a mixture of medication and lifestyle changes.
For example, both smoking and alcohol make osteoporosis worse. A patient should, therefore, drink in moderation and stop smoking. Patients should also make sure they get the daily recommended amounts of Vitamin D and calcium to nourish and strengthen their bones. They should eat foods with these nutrients and/or take supplements.
At the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinic of Brazos Valley, we offer customized osteoporosis treatments for patients dealing with this condition. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in College Station.