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Osteoporosis Treatment Orange County

Orthopedic Surgeons Offering Patient-Centered Care

Osteoporosis, which stands for “porous bone,” is a progressive disease. It weakens the bones and puts people at a much higher risk for unexpected broken bones, particularly if they have not yet been diagnosed. Over time, osteoporosis causes loss of bone mass and strength, and most individuals who have it can experience painful fractures of the hips, wrists, or spine. The reason osteoporosis happens is because bone is a living tissue, constantly replenishing itself after breaking down. When a person has osteoporosis, the creation of new bone is slower than the loss of the broken-down bone.

Do I Have Osteoporosis?

While osteoporosis affects people of all races, postmenopausal white and Asian women are at the highest risk. Other common risk factors include family history, body frame size, too much or too little of certain bodily hormones, dietary factors, long-term use of steroids and others. Osteoporosis is more common in people with medical issues such as IBS, celiac disease, cancer, lupus, myeloma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Certain bad habits can also increase your risk, such as a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.

There are typically minimal, if any, symptoms in the early stage of bone loss. More progressed osteoporosis symptoms may include:

  • Back pain
  • A gradual loss of height
  • Stooped posture
  • Brittle bones that fracture more easily than expected

Osteoporosis must be taken seriously, as approximately 50% of white women and 25% of white men older than age 50 will sustain bone fractures directly correlated to their osteoporosis. Another one-third of adults with low bone density are at risk of developing osteoporosis, including black men and women. These fractures are usually the result of a fall, but even simple household tasks can result in breaking a bone if the patient is significantly weakened by osteoporosis. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Your orthopedist will use a bone density scan which will measure the patient’s bone mineral density (BMD). It is most commonly performed using a low radiation dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (also known as a bone DEXA scan). During this test, you will lie on a padded table, and a scanner will pass over your body. Usually, these tests focus only on the hips and spine.

All women over the age of 65 are highly encouraged to have a bone density test, and men over 70 or younger men with risk factors should also consider having this test.

The following imaging scans may be necessary to determine if any bone fractures have occurred due to osteoporosis: X-ray, CT scan or an MRI of the spine.

Osteoporosis Treatment

The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to decrease pain, prevent the risk of breaking bones, and to minimize further bone degeneration. Orthopedist’s treatment recommendations for osteoporosis vary depending on the severity of your bone density loss. If your risk for a fracture isn’t high, treatment might include modifying your risk factors and observation instead of medication.

Bone-building medications may be recommended to patients to stimulate and then maintain new bone growth. Often, these injections are only effective for a year or two and then other treatment protocols must be used for further effective symptom relief.

Estrogen replacement therapy reduces bone loss, increases bone density, and can reduce the risk for breaking a hip or vertebra. There are many FDA-approved medications to choose from that can help to maintain women’s bone health post-menopause. include:

  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Calcitonin
  • RANK ligand inhibitor
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulations (SERMS)
  • Parathyroid hormone analog
  • Monoclonal antibodies

All of these medications differ but have the same goal: to increase and maintain bone density.

Your doctor will also make recommendations for lifestyle modifications to lower your risk of a fracture or injury. Rehabilitation may be necessary to decrease pain, prevent (further) fractures, and minimize future bone loss. Some of the suggestions your orthopedist will make include exercise programs, pain-management techniques, nutritional counseling to improve your calcium and vitamin D intake, and education on how to prevent falls – which may include giving you a prescription for a walker or other mobility-assistive device to help make you safer at home

Interested in osteoporosis treatment in Orange County? Contact us at Hoag Orthopedic Institute today at (949) 705-6493

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