Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a top cause of hip fractures among menopausal women. At Advantia OB-GYN Shady Grove, women have access to state-of-the-art treatments that can help them halt or slow the progression of osteoporosis and decrease the risk of bone fractures associated with the disease.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become porous and brittle, resulting in an increased risk of fractures, especially hip and leg fractures, as well as fractures of the spine. Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease that interferes with the ability of bones to replace the bone cells continually as they become worn or damaged. Without proper treatment, the risk of fractures will significantly climb, and many people with severe osteoporosis can have fractures from even small impacts like bumping against a table or rolling over in bed.

What causes osteoporosis?

The underlying cause of the disease is not completely understood, but researchers do know that several risk factors make it more likely that osteoporosis will occur, including:

  • Poor diet, especially one low in calcium
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes
  • Older age
  • Female gender
  • Thyroid or kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Genetics

Osteoporosis occurs most commonly in women in their 50s and older, with the risk of developing the disease increasing significantly during menopause.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

Osteoporosis can be diagnosed with a bone density test that uses an x-ray to evaluate the levels of calcium and other important minerals that are present in the bones. These tests are also frequently done for women who are receiving treatment for osteoporosis to determine how effective those treatments are. Osteoporosis produces few, if any, symptoms before a fracture occurs, so having routine bone density testing is critically important in ensuring treatment is provided before fractures occur.

How is osteoporosis treated?

Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most widely used and highly effective treatments for osteoporosis that develops during menopause and perimenopause. Taking bone-building supplements, quitting smoking, and making other lifestyle changes can also help some patients by slowing the progression of the disease.