When we think of osteoporosis, we think of an older woman with a loss of height and a hunched over posture. While these were once considered unavoidable signs of aging, this is no longer true. Understanding osteoporosis, including how it is diagnosed and treated, can play an important role in your health.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones have lost minerals, especially calcium, making them weak, brittle, and more susceptible to a fracture or break. Any bone in the body can be affected by osteoporosis, but the most common places where fractures occur are the back, hips and wrists.
Research has shown about 1 out of 5 American women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. The leading cause of osteoporosis is a decrease of estrogen in women at the time of menopause and a decrease of testosterone in men. Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 have a higher risk of osteoporosis. Other causes include drinking large amounts of alcohol, smoking, family history, history of hormone treatment for prostate cancer or breast cancer, low body weight and insufficient calcium in your diet.
To screen for osteoporosis, your health care provider can order a bone mineral density test. It is a simple painless test that only takes minutes. You can take a variety of health assessments by clicking the How’s Your Health? button at LetHealingBegin.com. For more information on bone-density screening, call St. Mary’s Women’s Imaging Center at (573) 761-7245.