What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a reduction in bone mass (measured as bone density) and microscopic changes in bone structure that can result in bone fragility and fractures. Although most commonly seen in the elderly population, age is not the only risk factor for this condition. Lifestyle choices, certain diseases, and medications (especially prednisone) can accelerate or lead to this condition.

What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis, like hypertension, is a silent condition because there are no symptoms. Occasionally people may have loss of height, but the most common manifestation of this condition is a fracture stemming from a minor trauma such as a fall. This is what we are trying to prevent with treatment.

How is Osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis can be suspected when regular x-rays reveal low bone density but needs to be confirmed with a DEXA (bone density test). A DEXA can also be used to determine the response to treatments for Osteoporosis. Unfortunately, sometimes Osteoporosis is diagnosed after a fracture from a minor trauma.

What treatments are available for Osteoporosis?

Depending on the severity of Osteoporosis treatments may include calcium and vitamin D supplementation with medications. Weight bearing exercises are also helpful in the management of Osteoporosis. Many medications can be used to include oral and IV preparations to attempt to slow or even reverse the loss of bone density.