Preventing osteoporosis requires a lifetime of healthy eating and exercise habits that counteract the natural loss of bone as you get older. No matter what stage you’re at, whether it’s early enough to prevent the problem or you already have weak bones, Dr. Brittany Bryan at Premium Care Internal Medicine has the expertise to help strengthen your bones and manage osteoporosis. If you have any questions about osteoporosis — especially if you’re a woman who has reached menopause — call our office in Santa Barbara, California, or schedule a consultation online.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle because you’re not producing enough bone, you’re losing too much bone, or both. As a result, you don’t have enough bone mass to properly support your body’s weight and movement.
Bones reach their peak mass or density between the ages of 25 and 30. During your adult years, bones continue to stay healthy through a process called remodeling, which continuously discards old, weak bone and replaces it with new, strong bone.
When you lose more bone than is replaced, you begin to develop osteoporosis. Most people begin to lose bone density by the time they’re 40 years old. Men develop osteoporosis at a slower rate than women simply because they have larger bones.
Women also face another risk factor when they reach menopause, because lack of estrogen accelerates bone loss. In the 10 years after menopause, women can lose 40% of their spongy inner bone and 10% of their hard, outer bone.
In addition to normal bone remodeling, a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, certain medications, and underlying health conditions can contribute to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the major cause of fractures in senior adults and postmenopausal women. Compression fractures of the spine are nearly twice as common as other osteoporosis-related fractures, such as broken hips and wrists.
Your bones can become so weak that fragility fractures occur from normal movements. A minor bump or stress, such as strain exerted when lifting or coughing, may lead to a fracture.
Our team of experts at Premium Care Internal Medicine can assess your risk for osteoporosis with a physical exam, medical history, nutrition assessment, and tests for underlying health problems. We diagnose osteoporosis with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA for short. DXA uses low levels of X-rays to determine bone mineral density.
Medications called bisphosphonates slow down or prevent bone loss. Women who have entered menopause can stop bone loss with hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen to normal levels.
Everyone can benefit from dietary changes or taking supplements to ensure they get the recommended dietary allowance of calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing exercise is also a key part of managing or preventing osteoporosis. The force of muscles pulling against bones triggers bone-building.