OsteoporosisBone remodeling is a natural lifelong process of removing old bone and replacing it with new bone. Women continue building strong bone mass density (BMD) until about 35 years of age. After age 35, the spongy inner bone starts to break down faster than it can be rebuilt. A slight decrease of the BMD is called “osteopenia” which is a warning sign. Greater loss of BMD (2.5 standard deviations or more) is called "osteoporosis" which can lead to debilitating fractures. A cure is not possible, but prevention through early detection is the key.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis
- Height loss (of about two inches)
- Fracture from minor injury
- Dowager’s hump (spine curvature)
- Some back pain
Risk Factors of Osteoporosis
- Female, especially Caucasian or Asian
- Menopause or lack of estrogen
- Low calcium diet
- Slender build
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Current or prior tobacco use
- Current or prior alcohol use
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Certain medication use (anti-convulsants, steroids, thyroid medication, etc.)
Prevention of OsteoporosisStrong bone health includes a healthy balance of lifestyle factors and necessary hormones. Calcium, along with Vitamin D for proper absorption, and a routine of weight-bearing exercise can help maintain adequate BMD and prevent osteoporosis.
Early Detection of Osteoporosis
A DEXA scan is a low-dose X-ray that measures the amount of X-rays that are absorbed by the bones. This painless test can help detect osteoporosis and predict future risk of bone fracture.
Calcium alone cannot prevent or cure osteoporosis, but insufficient amounts can lead to increased bone loss. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Panel recommends optimal calcium intake based upon age.