Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile due to loss of bone mass, making them easily susceptible to breaks or fractures. At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, our doctors can treat osteoporosis through prescription medications, hormone-related therapy, or recommended lifestyle changes. During a consultation at our offices in Cedar Park, Lakeway, or Austin, TX, our doctors can recommend the right osteoporosis treatment for you.
Common Symptoms of Osteoporosis
The word osteoporosis means “porous bone,” and refers to human bones that have become fragile, brittle, and easily breakable. About 54 million Americans suffer from the disease. It affects half of all women, and 25 percent of men over age 50 are more likely break or fracture a bone as a result of the condition. Bone fractures result in pain, a diminished quality of life, lost workdays, and in some cases, disability. In fact, bones can become so brittle that patients suffer fractures from simply coughing or bending. Osteoporosis progresses slowly and is usually painless.
Our board-certified doctors treat cases of osteoporosis with prescription medications, hormone-related therapy, and recommended lifestyle changes.
Another common symptom is a noticeable change in a patient’s posture. As the bone density declines in the spine and vertebrae, many seniors slump forward. Often, this is the result of failing bone support and the inability to straighten the spine.
A third indication of osteoporosis is seen when seniors begin to “shrink” or lose height. Losing an inch or two of height over several years is common in seniors, but dropping several inches in a short period of time warrants a doctor's attention. Two other common indicators are fingernails that break easily and chronic muscle and joint pain.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
A number of health issues can result in osteoporosis. You may be more prone to developing the condition if you:
- Are older
- Are female
- Have a family history of osteoporosis
- Use tobacco
- Use alcohol
- Have poor nutrition
- Have a low body mass index
- Are past menopause
- Have a Vitamin D deficiency
- Have low dietary calcium intake
There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of developing osteoporosis. While no one can reverse their age or rewrite their family’s health history, everyone can modify a diet, increase vitamin consumption, and eliminate unhealthy habits.
Additionally, there are certain diseases that can aggravate osteoporosis, forcing patients to battle two health challenges instead of one. These include, but are not limited to:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Celiac disease
- Breast cancer
- Leukemia and lymphoma
- Sickle cell disease
- Eating disorders
- Chronic kidney disease
It is important to note that a number of prescription medications can aggravate bone loss. Osteoporosis patients should ensure that their physician is aware of the condition and does not prescribe drugs that could exacerbate brittle bones.
Osteoporosis Treatment and Prevention
There are several prescription medications available for those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Treatment may include the use of bisphosphonates, low-dose hormone therapy, or other pharmaceuticals based on the patient’s needs and medical history. Additionally, physicians often recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- Avoiding salt and alcohol
- Taking up weight-bearing exercise
- Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D
The goal of osteoporosis treatment is to help the patient enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle for as long as possible, while working to prevent future bone fractures. At Orthopedic Specialists of Austin, our board-certified doctors can work closely with you to manage the disease.
Our doctors can help you live a fulfilling lifestyle in spite of osteoporosis. Contact Orthopedic Specialists of Austin online or call (512) 476-2830 to schedule your private consultation.