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Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by progressive weakening of the bones over time leading to an increased risk of fracture. It most commonly affects post-menopausal women but it can affect males and females equally when it is due to another underlying disease, such as vitamin D deficiency. Routine screening by your primary care provider using DEXA scans can diagnose this condition.
Osteoporosis is associated with fragility fractures involving the vertebrae, wrist, and hip. Unfortunately, it is often diagnosed after a fracture as it has no preceding symptoms. This is why routine screening by your primary care provider is crucial. Please expect secondary causes of osteoporosis to be ruled out by your physician with bloodwork that checks renal function, thyroid function, vitamin D level, parathyroid hormone, certain malignancies such as multiple myeloma and testosterone levels in male patients.
Weight bearing excersize
Calcium and vitamin D supplementation
Medicines that stop bone breakdown such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel
Medicines that build bone such as forteo and Prolia
Avoidance of medicines that can cause osteoporosis such as prednisone
In patients with osteoporosis it is imperative to minimize fall risk as there is a very high mortality in elderly patients who undergo hip fracture. These include using appropriate assistive devices such as walkers when needed and hip protectors.