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Protecting yourself against osteoporosis

Bone is living tissue that’s constantly being broken down and rebuilt. When the creation of the new bone doesn’t keep up with removal of old bone, osteoporosis, a chronic bone disease, can occur. While osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases, particularly in women over 50, it can be avoided with early, preventative care.

Patrick Jean-Pierre
Patrick Jean-Pierre

Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre, MD is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine and is also a Diplomat in Integrative/Regenerative Medicine by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. He completed his fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine and focuses on providing patients with integrated treatment and prevention plans tailored to each individual.

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How osteoporosis works

After our mid-20s, the balance between “bone building” and “bone dissolving” may start to shift, causing bone loss to speed up over time. For most women, bone loss increases after menopause, and many women can lose 20 percent or more of their bone density as a result.

Evaluation

As a preventative measure, it’s recommended that your primary care physician regularly check the strength and quality of your bones by analyzing your bone mineral density (or “BMD”).

Treatments

Using bone density scanning (also known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or “DEXA”), doctors are able to diagnose osteoporosis, predict fracture risk, and monitor response to therapy. DEXA of the spine, hip, and forearm is the most accurate method for the diagnosis of osteoporosis, and is the best method for monitoring changes in BMD over time.

Are you at risk?

A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis, including:

  • Gender: Osteoporosis is more common in women
  • Age: As you get older, your risk for osteoporosis increases
  • Body size: Small, thin women are at greater risk for osteoporosis
  • Ethnicity: White and Asian women have the highest risk for osteoporosis
  • Family history: If a biological family member has osteoporosis or breaks a bone, it's more likely that you will, too
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