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Osteoporosis Month: Everything You Need to Know

Osteoporosis Month: Everything You Need to Know

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month, which makes this a good time for a quick reminder about what osteoporosis is, what it can do, and who is at risk.
It can be tempting to consider osteoporosis a women’s disease, one that specifically targets those who’ve been through menopause or are small-framed. But the fact is, there are a number of risk factors that impact both men and women, regardless of age or size.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. This can be due to dietary issues, use of certain medications, lifestyle choices or even heredity. Whatever the cause, osteoporosis causes bones to become weak, which makes them susceptible to breaks from a bump or fall or, in serious cases, from something as minor as sneezing.
Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because you won’t feel your bones getting weaker. In fact, you may not even know you have osteoporosis until after you break a bone.
Who’s most at risk?

As you may already know, women over age 65 and women who have been through menopause are at the highest risk of developing osteoporosis. But osteoporosis is far more common – and more widespread – than you might think. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density, which puts them at increased risk. This means that half of all adults age 50 and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.

What are other risk factors?

Beyond age and gender, there are a number of other factors that can increase the risk of osteoporosis. These factors can impact people of any age or gender:

● Long-term steroid use, especially among people with asthma or multiple sclerosis
● Other medications, including those used to treat GERD and depression
● Family history of osteoporosis
● Sedentary lifestyle
● Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other autoimmune diseases
● Stomach conditions or surgeries that affect vitamin absorption such as celiac disease, GERD or a poor diet
● Smoking and alcohol intake
● Chemotherapy
● Early menopause
● Diabetes
● Hyperthyroidism and hyperparathyroidism

If you have one of these conditions – or if you have a family history of osteoporosis – you can help protect yourself from osteoporosis by taking an active role in your healthcare:

● Get an early bone density test
● Push for more vitamin D and calcium in your diet, and supplement.
● Consider getting the vitamin D levels in your blood measured.
● Get a bone health screen []

The professionals at DOC Orthopaedics are dedicated to bone health, including the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis through its Bone Health Clinic. A visit to the bone health clinic is a simple, painless way to get a detailed assessment of your potential risk of osteoporosis and a care plan to improve or maintain your overall bone health.

Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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