As we all age through life, our bodies evolve and change. One aspect is our bone health, its steady deterioration, complications from reduced bone health, and the treatments currently available.
Osteopenia is considered the beginning of bone density loss. When osteopenia worsens to a measurable point, it changes to osteoporosis. Our bones are the densest at around 30 years of age. About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 34 million are at risk. One of three women and one in five men 50 and older will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
Those that are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis are typically over 50 years of age or older. Younger patients with bone thinning usually have a genetic predisposition or are taking medication with bone density loss as a side effect. Other risk factors include gender, ethnicity, age, body size, diet, lifestyle, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone density scan, which is typically performed in primary care offices or hospital radiology departments. A certain T-score will determine if your bones are normal for your age, have osteopenia, or have worsened to osteoporosis. It is important to screen for this condition, as it is preventable and treatable, reducing future fracture risk.
Things to prevent osteoporosis include a healthy diet with calcium and vitamin D supplement, maintaining a healthy body weight—BMI greater than 19, regular weight bearing exercise, and avoid habits like smoking and heavy drinking.
Medications used for treatment include Bisphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, zoledronic acid), Raloxifene and bazedoxifene, Teriparatide and abaloparatide, Denosumab, Romosozumab, and Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT).
Ask your primary care physician about ordering a DEXA scan to determine your bone health, as it should be part of any 50 and older patient’s medical screening.
Hansa Medical Groupe has offices at 5250 Old Orchard Road, Suite 300, in Skokie, and in Chicago, 847-920-0902, hansamedicalgroupe.com.