No one wants to lose their independence or mobility, but it’s a fact of life that, over the years, parts of our bodies can wear down and weaken. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your health and catch those potential issues before they become bigger problems - like osteoporosis. In today’s post, we discuss why participating in Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Osteoporosis Clinic can help you stay ahead of osteoporosis and protect your bones.
The risks of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common condition in which the bones become weakened and more susceptible to breaking. It affects almost half of all women and a quarter of all men over age 50. In people ages 60-74, almost all fractures (80-90%) can be attributed to osteoporosis.
The disease often results in fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, which is important to note since, according to a Surgeon General’s report, almost 20% of patients who suffer a hip fracture end up needing some sort of assisted living within a year.
Are there symptoms of osteoporosis?
Unfortunately, there are usually no symptoms of osteoporosis before a fracture occurs. By the time the disease has progressed that far, patients may have lost as much as 30% of bone mass. At that point, fractures can be caused by minor falls or impacts. In more extreme cases, they can be caused by something as simple as a sneeze or touch.
Since you can’t feel your bones weakening, testing and early detection is key to preserving bone mass and avoiding fractures. A specialized treatment plan, such as the one offered by Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, can help you stay ahead of osteoporosis and create a plan to preserve your quality of life.
Advantages of a specialized treatment plan
The easiest bone to treat is the one that never breaks in the first place. Fractures, particularly in the hips or back, are severely painful and often debilitating. Specialized treatment plans focus on making sure that never happens to you by reducing the risks of a break.
There is often confusion regarding providers whose responsibility it is to detect and treat osteoporosis. Visiting Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine’s osteoporosis clinic can help avoid confusion that may come from seeing multiple providers. A clinic plan means that the same team is treating the condition from the moment of detection to make sure that everything possible is being done to keep your bones strong.
What can I expect from a clinic visit?
In a typical clinic visit, the physician will review your medical history and any risk factors that you have, as well as your blood work. If you are diagnosed, or at risk, the doctors will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan.
You can expect to have monthly appointments for the first few months as the treatment plan is established. After that, you will usually need to follow up every six months to a year, depending on the severity of your condition and the plan that best fits your needs.
Can osteoporosis be cured?
There is no cure for osteoporosis, but the good news is that it can be controlled with early detection and treatment so that you can preserve your quality of life.
The disease is usually treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments. Proper nutrition that includes the recommended amount of daily vitamins and minerals, along with muscle-strengthening exercises are the best defense against osteoporosis. Also kicking bad habits like smoking or drinking excessive alcohol could help you avoid osteoporosis or keep it from worsening.
Even if you’ve already had a fracture due to osteoporosis, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent future injuries. The Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Osteoporosis Clinic offers proactive treatments and specialized care to stay ahead of osteoporosis.
Who should get screened?
If you are over 50, you should talk to your health care provider about your risk factors for osteoporosis and whether you should have a bone density test. All women over 65 and post-menopausal women under 65 who have risk factors should be screened.
While there are usually no outward symptoms of osteoporosis, there are some indicators that you may need to be screened, including:
What is a bone density test?
While it may sound a little scary, a bone density test is actually a simple, painless, non-invasive procedure that involves scanning your bones with low-level X-rays to determine the levels of calcium and other necessary minerals. Scans usually focus on the spine, hips and arms.
After the scan, you will get what is known as a T score, which compares your current bone density with that of a healthy 30-year-old. If your score is -1.0 or higher, it means your bones are normal. Anything below -2.5 usually indicates osteoporosis.
How can I get screened?
Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Osteoporosis Clinic, located in our Metairie office, specializes in the detection and treatment of osteoporosis. We offer full care for the condition from testing and prevention to fracture care and rehabilitation.
Call us today to make an appointment with Dr. Zeringue and the team at the Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for an accurate evaluation of your condition and risk of osteoporosis.
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