Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease.” It silently weakens bones. This makes them fragile and more likely to fracture.

It affects millions worldwide, mostly women. But men can also develop this condition.

Understanding osteoporosis is crucial for maintaining bone health and overall well-being. This includes its identification, treatment, and prevention. CNOS specialists of Dakota Dunes and Siouxland are here to help.

Identifying Osteoporosis:

Bone Density Testing:

Bone density scans, also known as DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scans, are the gold standard for diagnosing osteoporosis. These painless tests measure bone mineral density (BMD) at various skeletal sites. Usually these measurements are around the hip and spine.

Your results are a T-score. A T-score compares an individual’s bone density to that of a healthy young adult.

-1 and above is considered normal
-1 to -2.5 indicates osteopenia (low bone density)
-2.5 or lower indicates osteoporosis.

Symptoms:

Osteoporosis often progresses silently without noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs. However, some warning signs include:

  • Loss of height over time
  • Back pain from collapsed or fractured vertebrae
  • Stooped posture
  • Frequent bone fractures, especially in the hip, spine, or wrist

Prevention:

Prevention plays a pivotal role in managing osteoporosis. Key preventive measures include:

  • Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D through diet or supplements
  • Regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Avoidance of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Fall prevention strategies, such as removing tripping hazards and improving lighting in the home

Seeking Medical Advice:

When to See a Doctor:

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional if you:

  • Experience sudden or severe back pain
  • Notice a loss of height or change in posture
  • Have a family history of osteoporosis or fractures
  • Encounter recurrent fractures with minimal trauma
  • Are postmenopausal or over 50 years of age

Type of Doctor to Consult:

While a primary care physician can initiate evaluation, diagnosis, and basic management of osteoporosis, individuals may also seek guidance from specialists such as:

  • Endocrinologists: For cases related to hormonal imbalances impacting bone health.
  • Rheumatologists: Specializing in autoimmune conditions that may affect bone density.
  • Orthopedic surgeons: To manage fractures resulting from osteoporosis and provide surgical interventions if necessary.

Treatment Options:

Conventional Treatments:

Traditional treatments for osteoporosis aim to slow bone loss and reduce fracture risk. Osteoporosis treatments from CNOS include:

  • Bisphosphonates: Medications like alendronate and risedronate inhibit bone resorption.
  • Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women and testosterone replacement for men.
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs): Drugs like raloxifene mimic estrogen’s beneficial effects on bone.

Emerging Therapies:

Recent advancements in osteoporosis treatment offer promising alternatives, including:

  • Monoclonal antibodies: Denosumab, a monoclonal antibody, inhibits bone resorption by targeting RANK ligand.
  • Anabolic agents: Teriparatide and abaloparatide stimulate bone formation, promoting bone strength.
  • Romosozumab: A monoclonal antibody that increases bone formation while reducing bone resorption, offering dual benefits.

Osteoporosis poses significant health risks, but early detection, prompt treatment, and preventive measures can mitigate its impact. Regular bone density scans, awareness of symptoms, and proactive lifestyle changes are vital in managing this condition.

Seeking medical advice from your CNOS healthcare provider is crucial. They will help you explore the latest treatment options and enhance bone health and overall quality of life.

Remember, bones are the foundation of our body. Nurturing them is paramount to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle for years to come.