Osteoporosis can take years to develop, causing few symptoms until your bones become so brittle they start to fracture. The highly qualified team at West Kendall OBGYN, serving the Kendall and West Kendall areas of Miami and our newest office in Doral, can detect osteoporosis in its early stages using bone mineral density scans, enabling prompt treatment that can reduce the severity of your symptoms. Call West Kendall OBGYN today to schedule your consultation, or use the online booking tool.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone condition which increases the risk of fractures and disability due to a weakening of the bone structure and tissue degeneration.
Osteoporosis is five times more likely to affect women than men, and typically develops post-menopause and into older age. Your chance of developing osteoporosis is higher if you:
Take certain medications
Have inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or lupus
Don’t have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet
Have an excess of vitamin A in your diet
Drink a lot of caffeine
Consume excess amounts of salt
Take a lot of antacids containing aluminum
Drink alcohol every day
Are a smoker
Don’t get enough exercise
Osteoporosis is typically due to aging, as bone loss increases as you get older. Women are particularly vulnerable to developing osteoporosis because the female hormone estrogen protects the body against bone loss, and after menopause, estrogen production falls dramatically, so the protective effect on the bones is lost.
What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis develops slowly, over decades in some cases, and causes few if any symptoms for many years. Eventually, as the bones get weaker, they start to become more likely to fracture, even if under very little pressure.
The vertebrae can weaken to the point where they fracture, causing spinal curvature and loss of height that’s known as dowager’s hump, the most obvious sign of osteoporosis. Some fractures don’t cause a great deal of pain, while others can cause severe pain and chronic discomfort.
Because the damage to your bones is so advanced, by the time you develop a dowager’s hump, undergoing screening to check your bone density is vital so treatment for osteoporosis can begin before it becomes disabling. All women over 65 should have a bone mineral density (BMD) scan at West Kendall OBGYN, and any woman past menopause who has risk factors for osteoporosis should also have a BMD scan.
What Treatments are Available for Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis isn’t curable, so the most important way of avoiding the pain and debility it causes is to lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent it from developing, or at least reduce its severity. Regular exercise, including weight-bearing activities that build bone strength, and a nutritious, well-balanced diet are essential, as are cutting out smoking and excessive drinking.
If you’re a suitable candidate, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also beneficial in preventing osteoporosis.
Adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium are also vital for bone health, and if you develop osteoporosis or you’re at risk, your gynecologist at West Kendall OBGYN is likely to prescribe supplementation to help protect your bones.
If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis or you’re over 65 and haven’t had a BMD screening, don’t leave it any longer. Call West Kendall OBGYN today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.