The Bone Health Center
Osteoporosis is a silent disease, and, in the absence of screening, a fracture or broken bone can be the first symptom. Each year nearly 2 million fractures occur in the United States as a result of osteoporosis and low bone density. One in two women and one in four men will have at least one of these fractures. A woman's risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is equal to her risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer combined. And a man age 50 or older is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.
Broken bones can affect physical, mental and emotional health, and in some cases, result in death. Fractures can result in decreased mobility which negatively effects independence. Spine fractures can cause chronic pain, breathing problems, decreased appetite and increase fall risk. Hip fractures often cause long term disability, and one in five patients with a hip fracture does not live beyond a year due to problems following the injury.
The Bone Health Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group was established in January 2013. Our primary focus is to decrease the risk of fragility fractures. We perform a complete medical history and physical examination of our patients to determine risk factors for fracture. We obtain appropriate lab work to find secondary causes of bone loss. When appropriate, we send patients for a bone density test (DEXA). All of this information is used to eliminate other causes of bone loss, determine each patient's specific risk for fracture, initiate appropriate anti-osteoporosis treatment, and monitor response to therapy.
There are a variety of factors – both controllable and uncontrollable – that put you at risk for developing osteoporosis. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for osteoporosis and together you can develop a plan to protect your bones.
Uncontrollable Risk Factors:
- Being over age 50
- Being female
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Low body weight/being small and thin
- Broken bones or height loss
Controllable Risk Factors:
- Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Getting too much protein, sodium and caffeine
- Having an inactive lifestyle
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Losing weight
- There are also medications and diseases that can cause bone loss and increase your risk of osteoporosis
Andrew James, MBA, MSN, Adult Health CNS, runs the Bone Health Center at Columbia Orthopaedic Group.