Contributors: Marie Hunt and Dr. Emran from Simple Health Radio
On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran discusses the silent disease, osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis means “porous” bones and takes a long period of time to develop. The bones actually developed thousands of small holes in them, causing weakness over time. Often, people don’t know they have the disease until a bone breaks.
In order to have a better understanding of this disease, it is important to understand the bone itself.
The bone is actually living tissue made with an outer layer called cortical (compact) and an inner, softer layer called trabecular (cancellous). It is composed of bone-forming cells called osteoblasts and resorbing cells called osteoclasts.
Throughout our lives, the bone goes through a process called remodeling. During this process, the osteoclasts break down and remove old bone, then the osteoblasts create new bone tissue. If the bone removal goes too fast or replacement happens too slowly, then osteoporosis develops.
To diagnose osteoporosis, doctors use a bone density scan called DEXA or DXA scan. The scan gives results of a T-Score which will show how much the bone mass differs from an average healthy adult in her mid-twenties. A score of -2.5 or worse is osteoporosis while -1 to -2.4 is considered osteopenia which often leads to osteoporosis.
In the U.S., over 2 million cases of broken bones occurred due to osteoporosis in the past year.
Certain groups are at high risk for the disease, including Caucasian or Asian petite women, certain medications causing bone loss, family history of the disease, and age.
Other causes can include dietary and lifestyle choices such as drinking lots of soda or alcohol, smoking, low intake of calcium, and inactivity.
Doctors will often recommend calcium and vitamin D which are important nutrients for the bone. They also might prescribe medication such as Bisphosphonates, which can help prevent the breakdown of bone. Other medications you have probably seen on T.V. including Actonel and Boniva. There are also injectables in case pills are hard to take.
Dr. Emran encourages both men and women of a certain age to get DEXA scans because early prevention of osteoporosis is key. Even though there are treatments, there is currently no cure for this disease.
If you have questions or concerns visit with your primary doctor or contact Dr. Emran through one of his social media channels below.
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