Around 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and at least 40 million more are at risk due to low bone density. The orthopedic care experts at West Tennessee Bone & Joint Institute know how severe the disease can be, so they offer advanced testing, prevention help, and treatment of osteoporosis complications at their Jackson Main, Lexington and Brownsville locations. Call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that primarily affects older patients. This condition causes bone weakening and gaps, which leave your bones very vulnerable to fracture.

You can’t feel osteoporosis, so it’s quite common for older adults to sustain a bone fracture before they’re even aware they have the disease. About half of women and one-fourth of men over age 50 experience an osteoporosis-related bone break.

What are the signs of osteoporosis?

The signs of osteoporosis include:

  • Shrinking height
  • Back hump
  • Reduced mobility
  • Back, hip, or wrist pain without an obvious cause

If you have osteoporosis, you may break a bone with only a minor fall, impact, or collision. Hip, wrist, and vertebral compression fractures are particularly common among osteoporosis sufferers.

Who needs bone density testing?

All women over 65 should have bone density testing. You may need testing before that age if you’re postmenopausal and have at least one osteoporosis risk factor such as a small body frame, a family history of osteoporosis, a diet low in calcium, or Asian or Caucasian race. Smoking and high alcohol intake can also increase your risk.

Although it’s less common, men can get osteoporosis, too. In fact, men over 50 break a bone due to osteoporosis more often than they develop prostate cancer. Osteoporosis risk factors for men include Caucasian race, older age, smoking, heavy alcohol intake, low-calcium diet, low testosterone, and certain medications.

What do my bone density test results mean?

Bone density testing can tell you whether you have or are at risk for osteoporosis. If the result of your DEXA scan (called a T-score) is -2.5 or lower, for example, -3.0 or -3.5, you have osteoporosis. If you have a T-score of between -1.0 and -2.5, you have low bone density, medically known as osteopenia.

If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, the team can help you start an osteoporosis treatment plan.

What does osteoporosis treatment involve?

Keeping your bones strong is vitally important. You can do this by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and having DEXA screenings as recommended by the West Tennessee Bone & Joint Institute team.

You may also benefit from medication that helps prevent bone fractures. Other options can include hormone replacement therapy and bone-building medications.

The West Tennessee Bone & Joint Institute team is here to help you avoid the damaging effects of osteoporosis. Call the office nearest you or schedule your appointment online now.