Osteoporosis Prevention & Management Strategies From Rheumatologists Practicing in Houston, TX
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that decreases the density of the bones throughout the body. Bone is a living tissue that must be constantly regenerated. Through a process of resorption and reformation, the body continually removes old bone and replaces it with new bone. This process naturally slows down over time, potentially leading to the development of osteoporosis if the rate of bone loss exceeds the rate of bone replacement. As a result, the bones can become thin, weak, fragile and more prone to fractures. Women aged 50 and older and men aged 70 and older are particularly at risk.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent” condition because it does not produce any symptoms that can be felt. In many cases, the first sign is a bone fracture that results from seemingly minor trauma, such as a slight stumble or fall. Therefore, bone density testing plays a key role in diagnosing osteoporosis. For this purpose, many physicians utilize dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a relatively simple imaging test that can be used to measure the density of the bones in two key areas of the body: the hips and the spine.
How can osteoporosis be prevented & managed?
There is no way to completely prevent or cure osteoporosis, but certain lifestyle adjustments and medications can potentially slow the rate of bone loss and reduce the risk of bone fractures. Some approaches that can help prevent and manage osteoporosis include:
- Consuming a nutritious, balanced diet that includes calcium and vitamin D-rich foods, and additional vitamin D supplements
- Ensuring sufficient vitamin D absorption through a safe amount of sun exposure
- Limiting consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Performing weight-bearing exercises and/or walking for 30 minutes each day
- Taking certain medications as recommended by a physician
Osteoporosis-related fractures often affect the spine, hip and wrist. Because these injuries can potentially lead to chronic pain and disability, fall prevention is an especially important goal of osteoporosis management. Some helpful practices include wearing low-heeled shoes with non-skid soles, holding onto handrails when available, using a cane or other assistive walking device and eliminating loose rugs and other household hazards.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or a fracture, or you are interested in osteoporosis prevention strategies, the experienced rheumatologists at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Houston, Texas, can help. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation.