Getting to Know the Basics of Osteoporosis


Osteoporosis affects millions of people throughout the United States. Once you have osteoporosis, your risk of suffering a bone fracture dramatically increases, which could limit your mobility and independence. May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to learn more about this common condition and what you can do to reduce your risk of developing it. Here are the facts you need to know.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a loss of bone density and deterioration of bone tissue. As a result, bones become weaker and more prone to breakage. The condition affects both men and women of all ages, but it is most common in women after menopause. This is because levels of estrogen, which provides protection to bones, fall after menopause. Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease because it seldom causes symptoms. Most people find out they have it after breaking a bone or experiencing collapsed vertebrae.

How Is It Diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose osteoporosis is through a bone density test, usually performed as a DXA test. During a DXA test, your physician scans your bones at your hips and spine to look for density loss. Although a bone density test can be performed to confirm an osteoporosis diagnosis after a break, it can also be used as a screening tool before a fracture happens so treatment can begin as needed. Bone density tests are also used to track the effectiveness of treatments.

What Treatments Are Available?

There are a number of medications that your physician can use to help control osteoporosis, such as hormone therapy and bisphosphonates. It is also important to eat a diet high in calcium and vitamin D, and to get regular exercise as recommended by your doctor. If you’ve been diagnosed, it’s important to take steps to avoid falls, such as keeping your home free of clutter and avoiding slippery surfaces.

The orthopedics and diagnostic imaging teams at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center can diagnose and treat osteoporosis. If you experience a broken bone, visit our emergency room for immediate care. You can get a physician referral to one of our specialists or learn more about our Las Vegas hospital’s services by calling (702) 731-8000.

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