What is Osteoporosis?
Orthopedic surgeons treat fractures all the time, but did you know that certain fractures can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem? If you are over the age of 50 and experience one of the following types of fractures, you should be screened for osteoporosis:
- Wrist (Distal Radius) Fracture
- Spine (Vertebral) Fracture
- Hip Fracture
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone in which you lose too much bone as you age, making your bones more porous than they should be and weakening their underlying structure. The more porous your bones become, the more likely they are to break.
Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis can affect both men and women, but multiple factors can increase your risk for developing osteoporosis, including:
- Age - older people are at greater risk.
- Race - people of Asian or Caucasian decent are at greater risk.
- Gender - women are at greater risk than men.
- Hormone Levels - a reduction in testosterone or estrogen can increase your risk for osteoporosis.
- Eating Habits - a diet low in vitamin D and calcium can put you at greater risk.
- Eating Disorders - bulimia or anorexia can increase your risk.
- Lifestyle - people with a sedentary lifestyle are at greater risk.
- Family History - a family history of osteoporosis or hip fractures can increase your risk
- Smoking - recent studies have shown a relationship between smoking and reduced bone density.
- Frame Size - a smaller frame size can increase your risk.
- Medical Conditions - certain conditions (including Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease) can increase your risk for developing osteoporosis.
Unchecked, these individuals are at significantly increased risk for additional bone loss and future fractures. That's why TSAOG Orthopaedics created the Bone Health Program.
If you are over the age of 50 and are treated for a fracture known to be indicative of osteoporosis, your physician may refer you for a Bone Health consultation. There, our Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) Certified Nurse Practitioner will work with you to:
- Educate you on osteoporosis and why you are considered at risk.
- Evaluate your specific case with a detailed history, physical, and referral for any additional testing necessary.
- Establish a treatment plan, which might include lifestyle changes and medication to prevent further bone loss or even rebuild bone.
- Refer you to the appropriate specialist (or back to your primary care provider) for continued treatment and follow-up.
Kate Sheeran, AGNP-BC
Fracture Liaison Service Coordinator
If you are concerned about your risk for osteoporosis, you don’t have to wait until you experience a fracture to schedule a Bone Health consultation.
Call (210) 630-4650 to make an appointment now!