Osteoporosis & Bone Health
Kirby Medical Center Orthopedics
Women’s bones keep growing until around age 20. They remain at this
optimum condition for roughly 15 years before age starts to weaken them.
Once a woman is post-menopausal (not had a period for 1 year), she will
be at a higher risk of the bone disease osteoporosis due to the loss of hormones.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which tiny holes manifest in the bones, making
them porous and brittle. It can manifest in both men and women, but is
more common in the latter. There are no obvious symptoms of the condition
until you break a bone. After an accident, a doctor may recognize osteoporosis
and start a treatment plan. Treating this disease as soon as it is discovered
is extremely important as you could end up breaking a hip or joint, which
usually requires surgery to repair.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
There are numerous factors that will put you at risk for Osteoporosis.
Excessive alcohol consumption is known to weak bones, and one of the biggest
risk factors is smoking, especially if you smoked before age 20. Smoking
inhibits the production of osteoblasts which is what builds your bones.
If you smoked before age 20, your bones may already be weaker than normal
even before menopause or other risk factors. In fact, smokers are twice
as likely to break a bone from Osteoporosis than non-smokers.
Certain medications can also weaken your bones quicker than normal Ask
your doctor if the medication you are taking affects your bones.
The following medications could weaken your bones:
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Thyroid drugs
- Acid reducers
- Anti-seizure medication
- Blood thinners
- Transplant medicines
- Synthetic retinoids
Fighting Bone Disease
You can fight osteoporosis before you break a done. Ask your doctor about
bone density scans. A bone density scan can tell you what the strength of your bones is in
comparison to normal bones at your age, weight, and height. Most insurance
companies will pay for a bone density scan every two years if you are
post-menopausal, or if you meet other risk factors. The same is true for Medicare.
Once you have a bone density scan, if you are diagnosed with either Osteopenia
or Osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe some medication for you. This
medication is designed to help your bones maintain their strength. Some
medicines even claim to re-build your bones. Be sure to consult with your
doctor about medications to confirm they are right for you.
If you do not meet any of the risk factors now, you will still want to
take care of your bones. Calcium with vitamin D helps maintain your bone
strength. Also, weight-bearing exercise such as walking and stair climbing
will keep your bones strong.
For more information on bone health, visit our
orthopedics department and check out