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Breaking Down Osteoporosis: Understanding the Silent Bone Disease

October 20 is World Osteoporosis Day, the perfect time to learn more about this condition that impacts millions of Americans. In fact, 54 million Americans, or half of all adults aged 50 and older, are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that makes your bones weak and brittle — so much so that even mild stresses can cause them to break. It occurs when the rate of new bone being made doesn’t keep up with the rate of old bone being lost. Osteoporosis often goes undetected until a fall or sudden impact leads to a bone fracture.

  • It’s often called the “silent disease” because you don’t feel your bones getting weaker.
  • It can lead to fractures (broken bones), especially in the hip, spine, and wrist.
  • Both kids and adults can get osteoporosis, but it’s more common in older people.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?

  • Age – Risk increases after age 50
  • Sex – women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis
  • Race – the disease can affect anyone, but white and Asian women are most at risk.
  • Menopause – estrogen deficiency causes bone loss
  • Family history of osteoporosis or fractures
  • Low body weight, or being small and thin
  • Not getting enough calcium or vitamin D
  • Not eating enough fruits and vegetables for other nutrients (magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and K)
  • Not getting enough protein
  • Consuming too much alcohol, sodium, or caffeine
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking

Keep your bones healthy

You can take steps to keep your bones strong and healthy, including:

  • Eating a balanced diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy, broccoli, and nuts.
  • Getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and foods like eggs and fatty fish.
  • Exercising regularly, especially activities like walking, running, and dancing.
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol, as they can harm your bones.

Treating osteoporosis

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are several steps you can take to increase and maintain your bone health. It’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to create a personalized plan that suits your specific needs.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medications to slow down bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures. It’s also important to eat right, stay active, learn about fall prevention, and consider supplements with your healthcare provider.  

Bone density scan discounts are available

A bone density test, also called densitometry, can determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk. Memorial offers discounted Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) bone density scans, an advanced technology that safely and painlessly measures bone density and mineral content. This test offers very precise results and is the preferred test for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Access your discount certificate by clicking the button below. If you’re searching for a primary care provider, find a doctor by clicking here.

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