Osteoporosis, which literally translates to “porous bone,” is a progressive disease affecting bone density. As the bones become more porous over time, they also become more brittle and prone to fracture, eventually resulting in fractures that occur spontaneously without trauma.
The primary cause of osteoporosis is age, but other factors also play a role:
Patients who have multiple risk factors for osteoporosis should discuss their risk with their healthcare provider.
Back pain, deformity, loss of height, and serious debilitating fractures can result from untreated osteoporosis. Some fractures result in major surgery, hospitalization, or even permanent disability. Routine screening for osteoporosis is imperative in preventing the potentially devastating outcome of this disease.
The most common osteoporosis screening is called a bone density test, but x-rays, lab tests, and physical examination also assist in diagnosing the disease. Healthcare providers determine how to best screen each patient on an individual basis depending on age, risk factors, and medical history. Sometimes the results of 1 test can be clarified or expanded on if another test is run.
Because many risk factors for osteoporosis are preventable, patients focus on preventing osteoporosis by limiting risk factors. This includes:
The healthcare team at Pali Women’s Health Center focuses on prevention first and talks with patients about measures they can take to lower their risk of developing this disease.
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, the progression of the disease can be slowed or stopped with medication. There are multiple medications used, some of which promote the formation of new bone and others which slow or stop bone loss.
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