Minimize risk of osteoporosis


Osteoporosis is the most common bone disorder and a major health issue. In the U.S., eight million women and two million men are diagnosed with osteoporosis every year. One in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have anosteoporotic fracture.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the body loses bone mineral density, affecting strength and increasing the risk of fracture. There are no warning signs as in its initial stages. Most people don’t even realize they have it as it develops. Symptoms such as bone fracture, pain, deformity and disability often appear when the disorder is more advanced.

“We often think of osteoporosis as a condition specific to older women,” said Elian Shepherd, MD, a board certified orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director of the Methodist Hospitals Spine Care Center. “While post-menopausal women are at the greatest risk, young people can also be affected.”

Primary osteoporosis most frequently occurs after menopause in women and later in life for men. Secondary osteoporosis can result from smoking, alcoholism, being underweight, having a low level of physical activity, and certain medications, conditions, or diseases. Fortunately, there are steps to help minimize the risk.

Begin maximizing bone mass early

Bone tissue is constantly going through a bone remodeling cycle, in which old bone tissue is absorbed by the body and replaced by new tissue. As we age, more bone is removed than is replaced. Maximizing bone mass early in life can greatly reduce the impact of bone loss due to aging.

“The single most important nutrient for improving bone mass and for preventing and treating osteoporosis is calcium,” Dr. Shepherd said. “Young women should take steps to ensure that their daily intake of Calcium is 1200 mg, plus 800 units of Vitamin D by age 20 to help prevent osteoporosis later in life.”

“It’s important to eat the right foods, avoiding diets high in protein, caffeine, phosphorus, and sodium,” Dr. Shepherd added. “Young people often deprive themselves of proper nutrition and start bone loss at an early age.”

Regular exercise helps keep bones strong and healthy. Later in life, even beyond the age of 90, exercise can increase muscle mass and strength.

Methodist Hospitals Osteoporosis Clinic

The Methodist Hospitals Osteoporosis Clinic offers the most advanced diagnostic and treatment methods, as well as education and medical management for Northwest Indiana patients close to home. Methodist’s Hologic Discovery W Bone Densitometry System provides a single platform to support a broad spectrum of patients. It is equipped with superb diagnostic tools to support the early detection and treatment of Osteoporosis.

The Osteoporosis Clinic team includes experienced orthopedic and spine surgeons, primary care and sports medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and occupational therapists.

“A combination of therapies is generally used to both prevent and treat osteoporosis.,” Dr. Shepherd said. “The primary objectives of these treatments, which require the patient’s life-long commitment, are to prevent fractures and preserve their quality of life.”

Provided by Methodist Hospitals