GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – You’ve probably heard about osteoporosis, but do you know what causes it and what may put you at risk for developing the condition? Arashdeep Litt, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician with Spectrum Health Medical Group, and she was here to discuss what osteoporosis is, and the importance of maintaining good bone health.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.
Throughout life, our skeleton loses old bone and forms new bone. Osteoporosis occurs when too much bone is lost, too little is made, or both. Bones become weak, fragile and more likely to break.
It can impact both women and men, but white and Asian women, especially those who have had menopause, are at the highest risk for osteoporosis.
Is osteoporosis very common?
Yes, it is very common. One out of every two women and one of every four men above age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture.
54 million American have osteoporosis or low bone mass.
What causes osteoporosis?
As mentioned, osteoporosis occurs when too much of your bone is lost, too little is made, or both.
When we’re younger, our bodies make new bone more quickly than it breaks down… this increases what’s called our ‘bone mass’. As we age and our body doesn’t produce new bone as quickly as old bone is lost, that bone mass starts to decrease.
Many things, increase your risk of getting osteoporosis – gender, age, etc.
Are there other risk factors for getting osteoporosis?
Women who have low calcium intake, an eating disorder, or who have had gastrointestinal surgery are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
Certain medical problems, like celiac disease, IBD, kidney or liver disease, cancer, or Rheumatoid arthritis can also give women a higher risk of having osteoporosis.
Medicines, like long-term steroids, certain reflux disease medications, or chemotherapy can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.
What symptoms should you look for?
Osteoporosis is silent. We can’t feel our bones becoming weaker. Often, the first indication of osteoporosis is a broken bone from a small impact or an everyday activity. Other signs are loss of height and being stooped or hunched over.
If you are 50 or older and have had a fracture, it is important to have your bone health evaluated by getting a bone density test done.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed?
We can diagnose the disease by doing bone density tests. This test uses low-levels of X-rays to measure the proportion of minerals within the bone.
Tell us about treatment for osteoporosis:
The type of treatment an individual receives will vary on their risk factors.
If your risk factor is low, we may look at lifestyle modification finding ways to reduce your risk of fall, and determine ways to minimize your amount of bone loss.
If risk factors are higher, we may consider medications.
Where is your office located, and how can people get in touch with you?
I see patients at 4069 Lake Drive SE in Grand Rapids.
Patients may call the office at 616.267.7700.