Millions of Americans are affected by osteoporosis, a silent disease that often first reveals itself with a broken a bone. Half of women and a fourth of men over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetimes.
Osteoporosis makes bones brittle by enlarging the honeycomb holes normally present in the center of your bones, making them less dense and easier to break. In the body, existing bone is continually replaced with new bone. With osteoporosis, the old bone is removed faster than the new bone is formed — leaving the bone full of these larger holes.
Osteoporosis affects women more often than men. Postmenopausal women with a family history of osteoporosis are especially at risk. Other factors include:
- Being Caucasian or Asian
- Reaching menopause at an early age due to the removal of ovaries
- Being slender
You can control some of the other risk factors. Avoiding smoking and excessive drinking will help. So will staying active (walking, dancing, lifting weights) and eating a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Medications are also available to help.
Other than suffering a break, the only way to tell if you have osteoporosis is by measuring the bone mass through a specialized bone density test.
Also, called a DEXA, this test will:
- Show your bone loss
- Predict your risk for fracture
- Help monitor any meds you may be on for the treatment of the disease
Osteoporosis is so prevalent that a bone density scan may make a lot of sense for you. You can find out more at myhealthscreenings.com. Or call 866-UCheck13 (1-866-824-3251) to schedule a screening.
And be sure to visit the CheckUp 13 website and tune in to WTHR News on the 13th of every month for more important information from St.Vincent.
It’s well worth the effort to avoid this disease that — in addition to frequent fractures — causes poor health, curvature of the spine, and acute back pain. Address osteoporosis early, and protect your good health today.