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Bone Health & Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Examination & Treatment

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means "porous bone" and it is a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced. As bones become more fragile and brittle, the risk of fracture is greatly increased. This thinning and loss of bone occurs silently and progressively. There are often no symptoms until the first fracture occurs. These fractures can be disabling and may make it hard for you to live independently. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), there are nearly 300,000 hip fracture patients annually, and 25% end up in nursing homes and 50% never regain previous function. 

What causes Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is caused by a lack of bone strength or bone density. As you age, your bones get thinner naturally. But there are some risk factors that may make you more likely to have the severe bone thinning of osteoporosis. Possible risk factors include being over 50, being a woman who has gone through menopause, having a slender body frame, family background, not getting enough exercise, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D. For example, according to the NOF, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms?

Osteoporosis can be very far along before you notice it. Sometimes the first sign is a broken bone in your hip, spine, or wrist after a bump or fall. As the disease gets worse, you may have other signs, such as pain in your back. Our goal at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists is to catch the disease early, before the first osteoporotic fracture. The probability of additional osteoporotic fractures goes up exponentially after the first fracture occurs.

How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

Here at NWOS, we have a fantastic physician that specializes in bone health and osteoporosis care. Dr. Mark Olson understands that healthy bones are essential for keeping people healthy and active. He takes a proactive approach by beginning osteoporosis examinations early, ideally before bone density is low and before the first osteoporotic fracture occurs. He begins with a bone density scan to detect bone mineral density and then based on the results, he customizes a treatment including nutrition, exercise, and medications to maintain bone strength. 

Because osteoporosis and loss of bone strength can occur long before symptoms, it is important to schedule an examination early, especially if you fit one or more of the osteoporosis risk factors. For example, if you are a woman that has gone through menopause recently, we recommend scheduling an examination sooner rather than later, as women lose up to 20% of their bone density in the five-to-seven years after menopause.

How is Osteoporosis treated?

Osteoporosis and loss of bone density can be slowed with new, healthy habits. If you smoke, quitting is recommended. Incorporate moderate exercise into your routine - walking, jogging, dancing, and lifting weights can make your bones stronger. Exercises that increase your strength and balance are also important. Nutrition is vital, including eating a healthy mix of foods that include Calcium and Vitamin D. Try yogurt, cheese, and milk for Calcium. Eat eggs, fatty fish, and fortified cereal for Vitamin D. There are also medicines that can help to reduce bone loss and to build bone thickness. Medicine can also provide relief from pain caused by fractures or other changes to your bones.

When you have osteoporosis, it's very important to protect yourself from falling. Reduce your risk of a fracture by making your home as safe as possible. Make sure there's plenty of light in your home. Remove rugs and clutter that could cause you to lose your balance. Make sure the handrails on your stairs are sturdy.

Strides for Strong Bones

As part of Dr. Olson's commitment to quality bone health education, fall prevention, and fracture reduction, he partners with the local non-profit organization, Strides for Strong Bones, in their mission to further educate our community on this important topic.

Why choose Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists?

Dr. Olson is a highly-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in bone health and the examination and treatment of Osteoporosis. He has been with Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists for almost twenty years and is committed to continued education and growing his expertise around bone health to give you the best treatment possible to lead a long, healthy, independent life. 

See a Specialist

To consult with Dr. Olson, please request an appointment online, or call 888-660-2663.

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