Osteoporosis occurs when the bones become less dense. This leads to a decrease in bone strength and a higher likelihood of broken bones. Often, bones become so brittle that a fall or mild stress results in a fracture. While it can happen anywhere in the body, an osteoporosis-related break is most common in the wrist, hip, and spine.
Osteoporosis is the most prevalent type of bone disease. While it affects all people, women of European and Asian decent are at the highest risk, especially if they are over 50. If you think you may have osteoporosis, contact Dr. Susan Baker at (310) 274-7770 to set up a consultation for Los Angeles osteoporosis treatment.
Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis
In the early stages, osteoporosis often causes no signs or symptoms, meaning many people who have weakened bones don’t know it. In some cases, however, patients may experience the following:
- Bone fractures that happen very easily
- Back pain
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
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Causes of Bone Loss
Sometimes bone loss can occur without any cause. Older women of European and Asian decent are the most likely to develop osteoporosis. The most common causes and risk factors for bone loss include :
- Drop in estrogen after menopause for women
- Drop in testosterone for men
- Extended confinement to bed
- Small frame size
- Thyroid problems
- Overactive parathyroid and/or adrenal glands
- Low calcium intake
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Lack of exercise
While there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are a variety of methods that can be used to slow bone loss while also increasing bone density and strength. One key aspect of combating osteoporosis involves lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, curtailing alcohol intake, and increasing regular exercise. It is also important for osteoporosis patients to minimize their risk of falling down.
Osteoporosis can also be treated using a number of medications. These medications are designed to stop bones loss, increase bone strength, and help increase bone growth in the future. Your doctor will work with you to help decide what medications are right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How common is osteoporosis?
A: In the United States alone, more than 40 million people either have osteoporosis or are on their ways to developing it. This makes it the single most common bone disease.
Q: Why are women at greater risk than men?
A: Because women have smaller bones than men, bone loss affects them more rapidly. Hormone changes after menopause also increase the risk for women.
Q: What kind of exercise should I be doing to maintain healthy bones?
A: Weight bearing exercises such as walking or jogging should be done three to four times a week. Balance exercises are also a good way to reduce your risk of injury from falls.
Q: How can I get more calcium in my diet?
A: Many common foods are a good source of calcium. Some of the best calcium-rich foods to consume include dairy products, tofu, spinach, kale, dried figs, dried apricots, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Q: What is the role of Vitamin D in preventing osteoporosis?
A: Vitamin D enables the body use the calcium in your diet more efficiently, which makes it an essential part of osteoporosis treatment and prevention. You can get Vitamin D from either exposure to sunlight or Vitamin D-fortified foods such as dairy, egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver.
Q: How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
A: The most common osteoporosis test is the dual X-ray absorptiometry (also known as DEXA or DXA). This process takes about 10-15 minutes and is used to measure bone density. In addition, your doctor might ask you to provide blood or urine samples in order to rule out other disease-related causes of bone loss.
Contact a Rheumatology Specialist in Beverly Hills Today!
Early detection is crucial when it comes to treating osteoporosis and other rheumatological conditions in Beverly Hills. So if you have or think you might have osteoporosis, contact Dr. Baker today. Dr. Baker has won a variety of awards, including “Most Compassionate Doctor” and “Patient’s Choice.” She is also Board certified in rheumatology and internal medicine. Call today at (310) 274-7770 to schedule an appointment and start feeling better.
Next, learn about rheumatoid arthritis.