A Primer on Osteoporosis

OsteoporosisIf you’re over age 50, and particularly if you’re a woman, you should know about osteoporosis. This bone disease occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. The bone remodeling process becomes interrupted. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from something as innocent as a sneeze.

At Creative Image Laser Solutions, we help our patients deal with osteoporosis through diagnosis and treatment.

What is osteoporosis?

Your bones are living, growing tissue and they change throughout your life. While your bones may seem solid, they’re 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.

The process of breaking down and rebuilding bone tissue is performed by two groups of cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts. There is an ongoing process of bone being broken down and reabsorbed, followed by formation of new bone mass. If the process becomes more weighted to bone loss without enough new bone formation, the person has osteoporosis.

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?

For a long time, it was assumed that osteoporosis was simply a part of aging, but that thinking is now discredited. This is partial because of the consequences of an older person breaking a bone. 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 complication related to the broken bone itself or from the surgery to repair it. Only one-third of people who break their hip ever return to the same level of activity as they experienced before the fracture. Osteoporosis is the reason many seniors are forced into nursing homes.

Testing hormone levels

At Creative Image, we first test patients’ hormone levels. These tests help us confirm whether their osteoporosis is a case of osteoblasts being inhibited from building new bone, or whether their body is absorbing too much bone mass. These findings guide our treatment approach, whether it involves hormone replacement therapy or prescription drugs. There are also various lifestyle and natural approaches we employ if the situation is right for the patient.

Worried about osteoporosis? Call the team at Creative Image Laser Solutions, 325-641-1927, and set up an appointment.

 

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