Osteoporosis

According to the CDC, just over 10 million Americans over age 50 are living with osteoporosis, while another 43.2 million have low bone mass, a precursor condition that can lead to osteoporosis. Worried about losing bone density as you get older, or suffered an unexpected fracture? Trust Hoag for accurate diagnosis, the latest treatment options and a path to help you stay healthy, active and strong at any age. Hoag Spine Institute is Orange County's leader for treatment of the bones and spine, including the treatment and management of bone loss. From major spinal injuries to common conditions like osteoporosis, Hoag's got your back.

Need Cutting-Edge Osteoporosis Treatment in Orange County? Hoag Has It.

Every day at the Hoag Spine Institute, we’re setting the standard for advanced, patient-focused osteoporosis treatment in Orange County.

Hoag offers the latest from bone-building medications to exercise programs that can help younger women at higher risk for osteoporosis keep their bone health strong. Our Spine Institute is leading the way to a future without the painful fractures and low bone density that are hallmarks of this often-confusing condition.

Read on for what you need to know about osteoporosis, including what causes it, key terms and what you can do to reduce your risk. And if you’re concerned about your risk for osteoporosis in Orange County, trust the bone health experts at Hoag by contacting us today at 949-764-1411 or through our online form. .

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that involves having weak or brittle bones, which can increase a person’s risk of bone fractures.

Usually diagnosed in people over 50, osteoporosis may cause the bones to become so weak that a broken bone can occur from a minor fall, weight-bearing exercise or normal activities like bending down to lift a small child or laundry basket. In some cases of severe osteoporosis, even coughing or sneezing can cause a fracture.

While osteoporosis is a disease that is most widely known for its impact on older, postmenopausal women, both men and women can have the condition. According to the National Institutes of Health, osteoporosis affects 1 in 3 women versus 1 in 5 men.

Osteopenia vs. Osteoporosis

Osteopenia is the condition that often develops into osteoporosis. It’s defined as having bone mineral density (BMD) that’s below normal, but which doesn’t yet meet the official diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis.

Usually diagnosed through a bone density scan, osteopenia is, therefore, a sort of “pre-osteoporosis,” and should usually be taken as a signal to get serious about improving bone density and bone health, especially if you’re at higher risk for the condition.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Throughout your life, the cells that make up the living tissue inside your bones are constantly replenishing themselves, with old cells being replaced by new cells to keep your bones healthy, resilient and strong.

Most young adults are at peak bone mass when the body efficiently builds new bone to prevent bone density loss and prevent fractures. Once a person reaches about 35, however, most people begin to lose more bone than the body can replace each day.

As a person grows older, the imbalance between bone loss and new bone growth can steadily increase. That can result in the interior structure of the bones being much less dense — what’s called low bone density — and a loss of bone mass that can cause the significantly weakened bones, and broken bones, that are characteristic of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis and low bone density can affect both men and women during the aging process, though more women than men have osteoporosis and more women will suffer broken bones due to the disease. The condition can occur at any age but is much more common in older people.

Other issues that can contribute to bone loss or a reduction in bone density that can lead to osteoporosis include:

  • Genetics, as having a family history of osteoporosis has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. White and Asian women also are also at greater risk to develop osteoporosis.
  • Diet and Vitamin Deficiencies: Not having enough calcium, protein or vitamin D in your diet can lead to bone loss, which can put you at greater risk for osteoporosis.
  • Physical inactivity: Leading a sedentary lifestyle, with little physical exercise or activity, can result in weakened bones and contribute to osteoporosis.
  • Smoking and Excessive Drinking: Smoking tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with bone formation and accelerate bone loss.
  • Certain medical conditions: Certain chronic diseases, including celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, anorexia, renal failure and hyperthyroidism, can prevent the body from fully absorbing calcium and vitamin D, along with other vitamins and minerals that are important to help maintain bone density. Over time, this can lead to low bone mass and osteoporosis.
  • Certain medications: Long-term use of corticosteroids and certain other medications can weaken the bones, potentially contributing to low bone density.
Osteoporosis and Postmenopausal Women

In older women, osteoporosis and low bone density are often linked to menopause. Due to hormonal changes experienced after the end of monthly periods, including reduced estrogen, menopause can greatly accelerate bone loss that can boost a person’s risk of osteoporosis.

According to the nonprofit Endocrine Society, about 1 in 10 women over 60 years old worldwide are affected by osteoporosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is considered a “silent disease,” because it often produces few symptoms until a person experiences an unexpected broken bone or fracture due to severely-reduced bone density.

Common spontaneous fractures in those with osteoporosis include:

  • Hip fractures.
  • Wrist fractures.
  • Spine fractures, involving fractured vertebrae.

In some cases, however, there are noticeable symptoms that can indicate a person has osteoporosis. These may include:

  • Severe back pain, often in the lower back (lumbar spine) due to changes in the spine or spine fractures related to osteoporosis.
  • Changes in posture, including stooping, a “hunched” look or developing a noticeable hump near the neck due to kyphosis, which is an abnormal forward curvature of the upper spine. Learn more about kyphosis from Hoag.
  • Losing height over time.

What are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?

There are a number of risk factors that can put a person at increased odds of developing osteoporosis. These factors include:

  • Being older, as older people, and particularly postmenopausal women, are at highest risk.
  • Being a woman, though men often experience osteoporosis too.
  • Having a low body mass index (BMI) or a small body frame size, as these people may already have weak bones.
  • Smoking tobacco.
  • Being diabetic.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Taking certain medicines, including proton pump inhibitors and long-term use of corticosteroids.
  • Having certain medical problems, including COPD or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis.
  • Being white or Asian.
  • Not getting enough physical exercise.
  • Having a condition that affects your mobility, like a paralyzing spinal cord injury.

Is There Any Way to Reduce My Risk of Osteoporosis?

Reducing your risk of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related bone fractures starts with making bone health a lifelong priority.

Even if you’re at high risk for the condition, such as those with a family history of osteoporosis or postmenopausal women, there are a number of steps you can take to potentially reduce your risk factors for osteoporosis.

 These may include:

  • Get a bone density test: A bone density test, also called bone densitometry or DXA, is a test that measures both the strength of your bones and their mineral density using X-rays. It’s an important step in understanding your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Eat a healthy diet, making sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D through foods like low-fat dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Get plenty of regular exercise, which — along with a healthy diet — can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be sure to engage in weight-bearing exercise that requires you to work out multiple muscle groups, like walking, yoga or Pilates.
  • Don’t smoke tobacco.
  • Consider hormone therapy: There is evidence to suggest that estrogen therapy, a form of hormone therapy, is a viable osteoporosis treatment that can increase bone density and help prevent painful fractures in postmenopausal women who are at high risk for breaking bones. There are, however, certain drawbacks to estrogen therapy, so be sure to discuss the treatment with your doctor. For older men at risk of osteoporosis, testosterone replacement therapy may also be an option.

Looking for the Area’s Most Patient-Focused Osteoporosis Treatment? Orange County Comes to Hoag for Bone Loss.

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease,” because it can have few noticeable symptoms. Then, one day, you suffer an unexpected fracture and everything changes.

The Hoag Spine Institute is a beacon for osteoporosis treatment and prevention in Southern California, delivering the procedures and care you need to prevent fractures, slow bone loss and get back to doing what you love.

Do you need advanced osteoporosis care in Irvine, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, Foothill Ranch, Corona Del Mar or other communities across Orange County? Then you owe it to yourself to seek out our nationally-recognized spine team with the advanced tools, next-generation techniques and dedication to patient-focused care you need to come back strong. You need Hoag.

For advanced osteoporosis care in Orange County, Hoag has your back. Contact Hoag today at 949-764-1411 or through our online form.

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