Strong bones: Prevention, screening keys to osteoporosis treatment
May is the month we celebrate moms everywhere, but it also marks National Osteoporosis Month, a chance to raise awareness about a disease that affects more women than a heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone mass or doesn’t build enough. Meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density. That means 54 million Americans, half of all adults age 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone in their lifetimes – one out of two women and up to one in four men.
But there is good news. Osteoporosis is preventable and treatable. You’re never too young or old to improve the health of your bones. Diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing and managing the disease. Things you can do:
- Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day.
- Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
- Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol.
- Eat healthy, especially fruits and vegetables.
When should you talk to your doctor about screenings?
It is never too early to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk for osteoporosis and ask if or when you should have a bone density test.
A DEXA bone density screening, also known as a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry test, takes pictures of your bones and then calculates density to determine their strength. The denser your bones, the stronger they generally are, meaning they’re less likely to break.
Regardless of your sex or age, your doctor may recommend a bone density test if you have:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- A drop in hormone levels (or are a woman nearing menopause)
- Restricted mobility for more than six months
- Lost at least 1.6 inches in height
- Fractured a bone after modest trauma
- Taken certain drugs like steroids or anti-seizure medications
Bone density screenings are easy and fast, and they provide your doctor with the information needed to help keep you, and the women you love, strong for years to come.
For more information about preventive health screenings, including DEXA bone density, contact our board-certified team of providers today! Find a clinic near you.