Osteoporosis literally means “porous bone,” and it describes a condition where bone tissue isn't naturally replaced by the body as quickly as it needs to be. As a result, bones become weaker over time, and fractures can occur more easily – sometimes just from normal activities. Osteoporosis can occur in any bone tissue, but it most commonly occurs in the hip or thigh, forearm and spine. Osteoporosis is a major contributing cause of hip fractures in the elderly.
Everyone loses bone mass as they age, beginning at about age 35. Over an average lifetime, women lose about 30 percent to 50 percent of bone mass while men lose from 20 percent to 30 percent. The underlying causes of osteoporosis are not entirely understood, but there are some risk factors that have been linked with a higher incidence of the condition including:
reduction in progesterone during menopause
excessive use of alcohol
A bone density test is the preferred method for determining if someone has osteoporosis. It's a non-invasive test that uses x-rays to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals in a specific section of bone. Because osteoporosis results in mineral loss, low bone density may indicate the presence of osteoporosis and a higher risk for fractures. Bone density tests are also used for managing osteoporosis treatments.
Making sure you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D is essential for helping bones replace calcium and improve density. Weight-bearing exercises also help build strong bones, and quitting smoking is critical. Dr. Tyorkin can work with you to develop a program of care to improve you bone density and help reduce your risk of fractures.
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