If you’re a woman over age 50, you should know about osteoporosis. This bone disease occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from something as innocent as a sneeze.
While osteoporosis isn’t a specialty area of treatment for our group at Women’s Health Medical, it’s something every woman needs to be informed about. So, in this scary Halloween blog, let’s provide some information.
What is osteoporosis?
Your bones are living, growing tissue and they change throughout your life. While your bones may seem solid, they’re actually a honeycomb with holes and spaces. The word osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When a person gets osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb of their bones become much larger than they were when the bones were healthy. This means they have lost density and mass. As they become less dense, they become weaker and more likely to break.
Osteoporosis isn’t rare; over 54 million Americans have it. Studies point to the fact that one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
What’s the big deal?
While breaking a bone is always something to take seriously, breaking a bone due to osteoporosis can lead to permanent problems, even death. Osteoporotic bone breaks are most likely in the hip, spine, or waist, but other bones can break, as well. It can lead to chronic pain and weight loss. If a person’s osteoporosis affects the vertebrae, it often leads to that person acquiring a stooped, hunched over posture.
Because it limits mobility, osteoporosis can lead to a person feeling isolated and depressed. Twenty percent of seniors who break a hip die within one year from either complications related to the broken bone itself or from the surgery to repair it. Osteoporosis is the reason many seniors are forced into nursing homes.
Testing bone density
Once patients reach or exit menopause, we advise them to get a bone density test. This test will give you information on whether you may be in the early stages of osteoporosis or if it’s something you should really keep an eye on.
If you have questions about osteoporosis, or if you need to make a call for a regular appointment at our Fort Worth, Burleson, or Lake Worth Women’s Health Medical Group locations, call us at (817) 346-5336.