Know The Facts About Osteoporosis

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month and Jamaica Hospital wants to help raise awareness about this condition.

Woman in her 40s undergoing scan at bone densitometer machine

Osteoporosis, meaning β€œporous bones,” is defined as a condition, in which bones become weak and brittle, making individuals more susceptible to fractures. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone tissue doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone tissue.

Osteoporosis affects men and women, but older women who are past menopause are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

Your chances of developing osteoporosis partly depends on how much bone mass you accumulate in your youth, when you are at you peak bone building mass age. During this period in your life, you can build-up a bone mass reserve that can be used later in life when you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include:
β€’ Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
β€’ Loss of height over time
β€’ A stooped posture
β€’ A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis – some are controllable, but others are not. Some of the factors are:

β€’ Gender – Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
β€’ Age – The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
β€’ Race – You’re at the greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
β€’ Family history – Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
β€’ Body frame size – Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
β€’ Hormone levels – Osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones in their bodies.
β€’ Dietary factors – Those with a lower calcium intake or have a history of eating disorders are at an increased risk
β€’ Medications – Long term use of oral or injectable steroids can interfere with the bone rebuilding process
β€’ Lifestyle – Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can contribute to the weakening of bones.

A bone density test can be performed to measure the proportion of mineral in your bones. During this painless test, you lie on a padded table as a scanner passes over your body. In most cases, only a few bones are checked β€” usually in the hip, wrist and spine.

Hormone therapy or medications can be administered to treat osteoporosis, but there are side effects. Please consult your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Jamaica Hospital has qualified physicians at our Ambulatory Care Center. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.