While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
May is National Osteoporosis Prevention and Awareness Month, and at KOC, we are dedicated to raising awareness of the condition. Osteoporosis is referred to as a “silent disease,” because it is often undetected until it’s too late. You cannot feel your bones becoming weaker, and often, osteoporosis is not discovered until after a bone is broken.
Raising awareness can help educate and inform, and enables you to take action early to help prevent osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease. It occurs when your body loses too much bone, or makes too little bone. As a result, your bones become weakened and are more likely to break from minor falls or even bumps.
Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When viewed under a microscope, part of the bone will look like a honeycomb. In a patient who has osteoporosis, the spaces in the honeycomb will be much bigger than they would otherwise be in a normal bone.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Your bones are constantly growing and changing over the course of your entire life. Bones continually change with bone cells dissolving and new bone cells growing back in. However, people with osteoporosis don’t grow new bone cells as well, causing the bone mass and density to deteriorate. The cause of osteoporosis is often a combination of contributing factors.
Who is Most at Risk?
One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. People most at risk for developing osteoporosis include those who have a medical condition that can cause osteoporosis, who are older than 50 years of age, and those who lose bone mass more quickly than others.
Common Risk Factors
There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing osteoporosis. Some of these include:
Importance of Early Detection
Early detection is important. This allows you and your doctor to work together to decide on lifestyle changes and to choose treatments that will help to prevent your bones from breaking. While there is no cure, there are treatments available that can help increase bone density and reduce your chances of fracturing or breaking a bone. Even if you don’t have any of the above risk factors, you could still be at risk for osteoporosis. The only way to determine bone density is with a bone density test.
Living With Osteoporosis
It is possible to live with osteoporosis by taking necessary safety and health precautions. There are a number of treatments and options that help strengthen your bones and give you a better quality of life. However, it’s important to be aware of the fact that your bones are still fragile (in order to prevent fractures and other complications).
If you’re age 50 or older, and have broken a bone, ask your doctor if you should have a bone density test. This will provide your doctor with the information that he or she needs to make a diagnosis.
At Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic, our physicians practice exclusively within their respective specialty in order to offer their patients a superior quality of diagnostic proficiency. For more information on orthopaedic care, visit Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic today.