Fragile Bones: Osteoporosis DiscussionHave you ever wondered, do I have healthy bones? Osteoporosis is a major problem and affects a large population in the U.S. Osteoporosis is the process of one’s bone quality becoming brittle due to hormonal processes and lack of vitamin D and calcium. Osteoporosis can lead to fractures and a significant change in the quality of life. Data has shown that breaking a hip at an elderly age shortens one’s lifespan drastically, so yes osteoporosis is a big deal. What can you do to prevent this from happening?

When talking about treatment, the ultimate goal of any provider is catching the problem before it becomes problem. Thus it’s very important to preach prevention when talking about osteoporosis and potential fractures. If the problem is significant for treatment there are many medications available to help build bone density. However there are many things that every person should be participating in to live a healthier lifestyle and prevent a catastrophic event such as a hip fracture. The main prevention strategies are:

  • Consuming adequate calcium and vitamin D:
    • Studies have found that calcium plus vitamin D or vitamin D alone is beneficial, but there is no evidence to support taking calcium alone
  • Performing weight bearing exercises:
    • Increased exercise shows statistically significant evidence of lowering risk of subsequent fractures
  • Avoid tobacco use:
    • Found increased risk for fracture in current smokers compared to non-smokers

Screening is also an important aspect of preventing osteoporotic fractures. Screening involves a bone density scan by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This scan helps detect the quality of your bone and whether or not treatment is warranted. Many organizations have guidelines for prevention which depending on what source you read can be slightly different. A summary of the recommendations are:

  • Women aged 65 years and older
  • Men aged 70 years and older
  • Women under 65 whose 10 year fracture risk is greater than or equal to that of a 65 year old (based off risk factors)
  • Women and men of any age who have suffered a low impact fracture
  • Women and men of any age who are at increased risk as a result of selected medical conditions or treatment with specific mediations

Osteoporosis is a serious problem and can be prevented. So take charge of your health, get your intake of vitamin D/Calcium, start exercising, and quit using tobacco.

About The Author: Derek N. Morrow, PA-C is a physician assistant with Prairie Spine and Pain Institute. Derek works in the clinic setting as a health care provider seeing patients. He is also utilized in the operating room as a first assist in surgery. In the clinic setting, his key function is to diagnose new patients and conduct their initial treatment. He works directly with patients to establish customized treatment programs and to monitor their progress. He also conducts history and physical evaluations for many patients. He performs many office procedures including trigger point injections, large joint injections, and bursa injections, all with the help of ultrasound guidance. He is radiologically trained, and uses his knowledge of X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, and EMG-Nerve Conduction Studies to establish a diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment. Derek is surgically trained and plays a vital role in the procedures we perform at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute.