Osteoporosis develops when bone mass declines, resulting in weak and brittle bones. Throughout your lifetime, your body naturally discards old, damaged bone and replaces it with new, healthy bone. Osteoporosis develops when you lose bone faster than it’s replaced.
Women have a higher risk than men because their bones are smaller. Your chances of developing osteoporosis depend on factors such as:
When your body stops producing estrogen, the rate of bone loss speeds up. Though each woman loses bone at a different pace, you can lose up to 20% of your bone density in the 5-7 years after menopause.
Overactive thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands accelerate bone loss.
You need to engage in weight-bearing exercises to help trigger new bone production.
Your bones need calcium, and your body can’t absorb calcium without vitamin D. If you don’t get enough of either vitamin, your risk of osteoporosis increases.
Corticosteroids reduce calcium absorption and weaken bones, leading to the rapid development of osteoporosis.
You’re more likely to develop osteoporosis if you smoke tobacco and/or drink too much alcohol.
Osteoporosis doesn’t cause symptoms. Whether your bones slowly weaken for years or you rapidly lose bone after menopause, you won’t be aware of the problem until a bone breaks.
Bones that are weak due to osteoporosis can break with little to no force. Osteoporosis also causes vertebral compression fractures, which occur when spinal vertebrae collapse because they’re too weak.
If your vertebrae collapse, you may experience back pain, develop a rounded hump in your middle back, or lose height.
Since you won’t have symptoms, it’s important to have a risk assessment. You should also have an osteoporosis screening when you reach menopause or by the age of 65.
Your provider screens for osteoporosis using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). With only a small dose of radiation, DEXA reveals the extent of any bone loss. Then your provider can precisely determine your risk for osteoporosis and create a plan to prevent or treat the problem.
Oakland Macomb Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C., creates customized treatment plans that fit each person’s unique needs. Your treatment may include:
You may need to make changes in your diet and exercise to strengthen your bones. Supplements may also be helpful to retain bone health.
Your provider may prescribe medication that either slows down bone loss or boosts bone formation. A few examples include bisphosphonates, monoclonal antibody medications, and hormone therapies.
Whether you need osteoporosis screening or treatment, call Oakland Macomb Obstetrics & Gynecology, P.C., or schedule an appointment online.