What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes loss of bone mass and strength, resulting in very weak bones that can break or fracture easily. Women are five times more susceptible than men. Fortunately, with diet, exercise, calcium and vitamin D as well as other therapies, osteoporosis can be slowed down, halted and may even be reversed.

Who is most likely to develop Osteoporosis?

  • People over 50
  • Individuals with an eating disorder
  • People with small bones, thin frames
  • Women are 5 times more likely than men 
  • Women who experienced menopause early, before 45 years old

What is the cause of Osteoporosis?

  • Family history
  • Low levels of calcium and vitamin D in your diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Post menopausal women

Who is affected by Osteoporosis?

The Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis suggests people may be at risk for the disease even if they have a normal test score and recommend additional testing if:

  • they are older than 65
  • they have already suffered a fracture after the age of 50
  • a close relative has osteoporosis or suffered a broken bone
  • the person is a smoker or drinker
  • they are underweight for their height
  • they have poor health or vision
  • they sometimes fall or are not active
  • they never received enough calcium
  • a woman past menopause, not taking estrogen and concerned about her bone density
  • they have one of these following medical conditions: cancer, chronic hepatic or renal disease, chronic lung disease, Cushing's disease, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyrodism, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or vitamin D deficiency.
  • they take anyone of these following medications: antiepileptic medication, cancer treatment (chemotherapy or radiation), gonadal hormone suppression, immunosuppressive agents, oral glucocorticoids (steroids) or thyroid medication.

Symptoms & Warnings

Late Symptoms:

  • Curved spine
  • Loss of height 
  • Sudden back with cracking sounds (possible fracture)
  • Fractures that can occur in hip and arm

Early Warning Signs:

  • Usually no symptoms (This is why early screening is so important!)
  • Backache

How can I prevent Osteoporosis?

  • Consume enough calcium each day. Women under 50 need at least 1000mg of calcium daily. Woman over 50 need at least 1200mg daily. The best source of calcium is through foods that naturally contain this mineral.
  • Ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of vitamin D.  Consult your physician about how much vitamin D is right for you.
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: Researchers agree that due to the widespread use of supplemental calcium, better studies are needed to understand the possible risks and benefits and to whom they may apply.
  • Pursuing regular weight-bearing or strength-building exercises, or both is the best option. Walking, cycling, weight lifting and working out on resistance machines is effective and safe for most adults, if done properly.

What can I do to maintain bone health?

  • Exercise and be physically active, it strengthens your bones.
  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D, it may strengthen your bones, however we suggest you consult your physician about supplementation. Recent controversy about calcium supplements and heart disease warrants careful evaluation by your doctor.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, being under weight raises risk of bone loss.
  • DO NOT smoke, it reduces bone mass.
  • Limit alcohol use, it also reduces bone mass.
  • Make your home free from hazards that could increase risk of falling.
  • Talk with your doctor about medicines that weaken your bones.
  • Consume foods rich in calcium.

What else do we screen for?  Learn more.