When we talk about health topics that are relevant for those in the 50+ category, one of the most popular subjects is osteoporosis. While many of our patients have heard the term, most will admit they don’t know much about what it is, how it affects healthy aging and how to prevent or treat it. Our Boyd doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Benbrook, Bedford and Lewisville) have all those answers and more in today’s blog – read on for the beginner’s guide to osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects bone health. More specifically, it causes bones to become frail and easily fractured. While over 50 million Americans are currently estimated to have osteoporosis, it is much more commonly found in women than men. The risk of having osteoporosis also increases in individuals over the age of 50.
Causes & Symptoms
Your body is always rebuilding your bones. When bone cells get old and break down, they get replaced. However, as a person ages, the body cannot always keep up with this rebuilding process in bones. This leads to old bone breaking down faster than it can be replaced which causes bones to become weaker. Some risk factors that may increase your chances of osteoporosis include the following:
- Low hormone levels
- Digestive disorders
- Certain medications
- Diet & lifestyle
Often a person may not even know that they have osteoporosis because there are not many obvious symptoms until a bone breaks. Because of this, doctors often refer to this as a silent disease. Indications that a person may need to be tested for osteoporosis include spontaneous bone fractures from minor falls or simple, everyday strain such as bending or coughing. For more information on symptoms and causes, view Your Family Medical’s video on osteoporosis.
It’s important to be proactive to decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis. Our Boyd pain management medical team (locations also in Benbrook, Bedford and Lewisville) recommends sticking to a healthy diet and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are several treatments available to you that may help support bone health, including some changes you can make on your own:
- Dietary changes, specifically an increase in foods that contain calcium and vitamin D
- Weight training and consistent weekly exercise
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking
- Hormone therapy
What Your Family Doctor Can Do to Help
If you are nearing the age of 50 or have a family history of osteoporosis, it’s important to see your family doctor on a regular basis to ensure everything is being done to support healthy bone growth. Your family doctor can also help create a customized healthy lifestyle plan that incorporates activity, a vitamin-rich whole food diet and vitamin, supplement and/or hormone support as needed. He or she can also offer diagnostic testing and osteoporosis treatment plans for those patients who are past the preventative stage.
Your Family Medical offers a comprehensive care system which can support healthy lifestyles and contemporary disease prevention strategies and treatment for the full spectrum of life. We offer specialties such as geriatric medicine, hormone therapy, women’s and men’s health, family medicine and more. Don’t put your family’s health on the back burner – contact us today to schedule a new patient appointment!