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Recognizing Bone Health: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: defined by low bone mass and increased skeletal fragility, increasing the risk of fracture

Risk factors: female, advanced age, family history, alcohol and tobacco use, long term steroid use

When to screen for osteoporosis: The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for women 65 and older. For women younger than 65, consider risk factors such as parental history of hip fracture, smoking, excessive alcohol use and low body weight.

Diagnosis: Your physician will order a DEXA scan to measure Bone Mineral Density (BMD) of the hips and lumbar spine. The BMD is standardized to a scoring system used to diagnose osteoporosis

What is the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis? Osteopenia still correlates to low bone mineral density, however it is not as severe as osteoporosis. If not treated it can progress to osteoporosis

Treatment: Options include medication, calcium and vitamin d supplement, and lifestyle changes such as weight bearing exercise/smoking cessation/limit alcohol intake can all help support bone health.

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