Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when your body can’t keep up with replacing bone. When this happens, you’re more prone to fractures, and these can start a downward health spiral where limited mobility and anxiety over future fractures lower your quality of life.
Though both men and women get osteoporosis, women are four times more likely to be affected, and the risk skyrockets during the first few years after menopause, when estrogen production stops.
Barbara Kage, MD, FACR and Donna Duffy, PA-C at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC offer expert prevention-focused treatment, whether you’re at risk for osteoporosis or have already been diagnosed with it. They’re dedicated to equipping you with the information and tools needed to alter your path toward osteoporosis and partnering with you to achieve this.
Why does osteoporosis happen?
Your bones are actually made up of live material that’s constantly being replaced, but if your body becomes unable to keep up with production demands, osteoporosis occurs, your bones become brittle, and your risk is seriously upped for fractures — mostly of the spine, hip, and wrist, though they can occur anywhere.
Problems also occur when your body “steals” the calcium in your bones and uses it to ensure that your brain and heart are working properly. The bottom line is that if you experience a calcium deficit, your bones — and your physical stability — are at risk.
Those most at risk for osteoporosis are causasian and Asian women with small frames, post-menopausal women, and those who have osteoporosis running in their families.
Be alert to the symptoms of osteoporosis
In addition to fractures, people with osteoporosis tend to have spinal curvature that leads to stooped posture and even a protrusion on their back known as kyphosis. The condition also causes a reduction in height, so what you hear about shrinking as you age is often due to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, back pain can also accompany bone loss.
Can I do anything to prevent or reverse osteoporosis, or is it inevitable?
Although osteoporosis isn’t technically reversible, Dr. Kage and Donna Duffy, PA-C can monitor you carefully and provide you with preventive treatments that slow bone loss, build density, and support your overall bone health.
They help you put the brakes on osteoporosis through a series of steps:
- Bone density screening tests
- Dietary and lifestyle changes
- Nutritional supplements
- Physical activity
- Home safety steps
- Bisphosphonates (if your bones are especially weak)
For the Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC team to obtain a baseline for your bone health, they order a bone density test called a DEXA scan, which indicates whether you have osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, or the condition itself. Preventive measures can help you considerably, whether you have no visible bone loss yet (if our providers spot osteopenia) or if you have osteoporosis.
You can support your bone health by lowering your alcohol and caffeine intake, and refraining from smoking. Eating a calcium-rich diet where foods like yogurt, cheese, sardines, and dark leafy greens take center stage is important, but many foods are also fortified with calcium. Our team may also recommend taking calcium supplements to ensure you’re getting the proper amount.
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, hiking, using a stepper at the gym, and training with weights or resistance bands are all great options.
Our providers also provides education on how you can make your home safer so you reduce your chances of falling and sustaining a fracture. Some of the measures you can take that make a big difference are removing throw rugs from your space, getting electrical cords out of the way if they pose a tripping hazard, and making sure the spaces in your home are all well-lit.
A preventive approach to dealing with osteoporosis is pivotal
If you’ve already experienced any type of fracture, your risk for another goes up, unfortunately. This is why Dr. Kage and Donna Duffy, PA-C believe in closely monitoring all of their patients at risk for osteoporosis or those who have it. They also keep special tabs on their patients who are 70+ years of age, as they’re more prone to an injury that’s easily missed during screenings, a vertebral fracture.
By practicing sound self-care and seeing Dr. Kage and Donna Duffy, PA-C regularly to track your bone health, you can greatly lower your risk for fracture and worsening osteoporosis.
Both Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, LLC offices are open and taking full safety precautions to keep you safe from COVID-19. Call us to set up an osteoporosis consultation, or schedule an appointment through our website.