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It’s Never Too Late… (Osteoporosis)

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It’s Never Too Late… (Osteoporosis)

If you are a woman who has gone through menopause, you are at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a “silent disease” that effects more than 25 million Americans, with women comprising 80% of that figure. It is possible to have osteoporosis for years and not find out until you suffer one or more broken bones from a minor injury. These fractures can be painful and disabling, and eventually may threaten your lifestyle, your mobility and your independence.

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones and increases the risk of fracture, especially at the spine, wrist and hips. This means that the bone is more likely to break, sometimes with only minimal stress, such as coughing or turning over in bed.

Osteoporosis is not just a disease of the elderly; it usually begins in the years immediately after menopause. As we grow older, we all lose a certain amount of bone, but the severe loss know as osteoporosis a disease. Recently, there have been many advances in technology that can help your doctor to diagnose, treat and prevent osteoporosis.

The major risk factor for osteoporosis is menopause. You may have an even greater risk of developing osteoporosis if the disease runs in your family; if you are thin or have a slight build; if you experienced menopause at an early age; or if you smoke, drink too much alcohol or don’t get enough exercise.

Even if none of these risk factors applies to you, you may still develop osteoporosis. The best way to find out if you have the disease (especially in the early, “silent” stages) is to have a test that will measure the density of your bones.

The best way to battle osteoporosis is to diagnose it as early as possible so that appropriate therapy can be started. A bone density test is a fast, painless and non-invasive procedure. It is derived from the same technology as x-ray, but involves less radiation than you would be exposed to if you flew in an airplane from Chicago to California. The cost of the test is covered by Medicare and most other insurance plans.

To keep osteoporosis out of a women’s future, it is important to help bones stay strong throughout your life. There are a few basic rules for taking care of your bones, and they apply to all of us. First, make sure to get enough calcium. Throughout life, calcium plays a key role in maintaining healthy bones but it is particularly vital while bones are still growing. In later life, calcium can slow the loss of bone.

Good nutrition is essential. Eat a well-balanced diet with the proper amount of minerals and vitamins. In addition to eating properly, regular exercise can help increase your bone strength. “Weight bearing” exercise, such as brisk walking, running, tennis and low impact aerobics are especially good for your bones.

The physicians at Fox Valley Orthopaedic Institute can assist you in determining your risk factors for osteoporosis and possesses the technology to diagnose and treat this potentially debilitating disease. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Remember, it is never too early ot too late to start taking care of your bones!