As we age, it’s common for our bones to become more delicate and vulnerable to fracturing. In many cases, this may be due to osteoporosis, a common bone thinning disorder that prevents patients from metabolizing calcium and phosphate correctly. This prevents the bones from absorbing these essential nutrients. Bones that do not receive enough of these strengthening agents are at a far higher risk of fractures due to the bone tissue gradually disintegrating and their bones losing density. With National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month coming up this May, we at Abraham Family Medicine are here to explain what patients can do to maintain strong, healthy bones as they age.
Roughly 10 million Americans currently suffer from osteoporosis. Of these 10 million, about 80% are women. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NBCI) estimates that 1.5 million individuals suffer a fracture due to bone disease each year. Since osteoporosis is not associated with other symptoms, it’s not uncommon for a patient to not even know they have it until they suffer a fracture. The bones most-commonly affected are the bones in a patient’s hip, lower back, neck, and wrist.
Certain people have heightened risks of developing osteoporosis and other bone diseases than others. As we noted previously, women are far more likely to get the disease than men. Geriatric patients (age 65+) too have a far more significant risk. Additionally, smoking, a lack of regular physical exercise, and a family history of osteoporosis can all make patients more potentially vulnerable to developing osteoporosis.
The good news is that osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented and slowed down with treatment. The first step is having diagnostic testing done regularly to measure your bone mass. This can help in the early detection of osteoporosis and determine the rate of a patient’s bone loss. There are also a number of steps you can take to promote good bone health including getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D, and performing daily weight-bearing exercises to keep your bones active and strong.
If you do suffer an osteoporosis related fracture, Dr. Abraham can provide a list of exercises to re-strengthen the muscles surrounding the fractured bone and suggest specific dietary or medicinal supplements to help prevent future fractures. For more information on osteoporosis prevention and treatment, please contact Dr. Ben Abraham or one of our other experienced providers at Abraham Family Medicine today. Our office is located in Snellville, not far from Grayson.