Getting old just doesn’t seem to be ALL that it’s cracked up to be…….I mean, THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING! Between menopause and ALL its associations; i.e., vaginal dryness, hotflashes, night sweats………and now concerns about Osteoporosis…….Here are my TOP 5 FACTS you need to know about Osteoporosis:
1. You reach your MAXIMUM bone mass in your early 20’s! This is important as your bones are in a constant state of regeneration; breaking down old and building new. When we are younger, new bone is created much faster than old is broken down. IT IS IMPORTANT to invest in our bodies when we are young! Moms…..this is a great take home lesson for your children, specifically your daughters. Ensuring that YOUR “BONE” BANK is full during youth, will DEFINITELY pay dividends during your golden years….Healthy Diet and Exercise anyone?!?!?
2.When should I get my first Dexa Scan? I see LOTS of women who are getting “baseline” Dexa or BDS(bone density scans). This is such nonsense! Unless you are at an increased risk for Osteoporosis, BDS or Dexa scans should not be initiated until you are 65 years of age.
3. Risk Factors for Osteoporosis. The obvious ones are things like age(the older you get, the more likely you are to develop it), race(whites and Asians are at an increased risk), family history(having first-degree relatives such as a sibling or parent who is affected), body frame(smaller framed individuals are much more prone to developing osteoporosis). Lifestyle choices such as leading a sedentary lifestyle; i.e., NOT exercising enough, NOT consuming enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, smoking, and drinking alcohol in excess are also factors that can and do increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Chronic use of certain medications, such as steroids, also plays a role. I almost forget to mention, being menopausal increases your risk of osteoporosis as well…..estrogen plays a HUGE role in maintaining bone health which helps explain one of the reasons women are more prone to osteoporosis than men…once those estrogen levels decline, as is characteristic of the menopausal state, bone health is greatly affected.
4. How often should I be getting Dexa Scans? If your BDS was normal(T score of -1 or above), I wouldn’t repeat it for at least 5 years. If, however, your bds showed signs of loss(Osteopenia: a T score between -1 and -2.5), or flat out osteoporosis(a T score of -2.5 or lower) I would recommend a BDS every 2 years or so to see if, whatever treatment was implemented, is working.
5. How is osteoporosis treated? The simple part of this answer is via lifestyle modification; i.e. weight-bearing exercises such as running, dancing, weightlifting, walking…ensuring that you are consuming an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet, and getting rid of things such as excessive alcohol use and smoking. If your osteoporosis is significant enough to warrant treatment with medications, there are a variety of meds that we utilize to help treat and prevent osteoporosis. See your physician decide which option might be best for you. Some physical therapists could also be contacted if the osteoporosis is causing limited mobility or pain, especially for older patients. Perhaps some people suffering from this disease could consider getting in touch with those at Luna, or another physical therapy clinic in your area. Hopefully, they’ll be able to remove some of this discomfort and allow people to regain some of their mobility.
Hoping this blog post adds value to your day!
Until next time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.