Monday, October 2, 2023
CMO Message: Everything you need to know about osteoporosis
When most people think about osteoporosis, they think of a condition that causes weak bones in older women. While the hormonal changes after menopause put women at higher risk of osteoporosis, the truth is that everyone should be thinking about bone health regardless of age or gender.
Osteoporosis is more common than you might realize, affecting 1 out of 5 women over the age of 50. While it is less common in men, nearly one-third of fractures from osteoporosis occur in men. With this condition, your bones can get so weak that they can break from simple everyday activities like coughing or accidentally bumping into something. Many people might not know they have low bone density until fractures occur which can lead to pain, disability, and even death.
Loss of bone strength over time is not fully reversible so maintaining your bones is vital in preventing osteoporosis. Lifestyle habits such as ensuring you get enough calcium and vitamin D, strength training, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol all go towards keeping your bones strong.
In addition, you might benefit from a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis if you are a woman over 65 years old or a younger postmenopausal woman with risk factors such as having a parent who had a broken hip, smoking, excessive alcohol use, or low body weight. Certain health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders, and long-term use of some medications including glucocorticoids and aromatase inhibitors can also increase the risk of osteoporosis. If screening tests show that your bone density is low, medications, and lifestyle changes can be used to prevent further bone loss.
It’s never too early to think about your bone health, so talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do today to keep your bones strong for your lifetime.
- Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA