Osteoporosis

It is never too early or too late to detect, prevent, or treat osteoporosis.


DEFINITION




PREVALENCE











RISK FACTORS




Osteoporosis is a silent disease in which bones become fragile and are more likely to break.  If not prevented or if left untreated, it can progress painlessly until a bone breaks.  The most affected bones are the hip, spine, and wrist.

The fractures are serious: 1 in 5 women is expected to die within a year, 2 out of 5 are likely to be permanently disabled, and only 2 out of 5 are able to fully resume their daily activities.

Osteoporosis also affects men: 1 in 3 men is expected to die within one year of a fracture.

About half of the population 50 years of age and older is affected by osteoporosis.  In women over the age of 50 years, there are more osteoporotic fractures than heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, ovarian and cervical cancer combined.

Early awareness is critical.  Recognizing lifestyle changes you can control is the first step to prevention.

Non-modifiable

  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • History of a fracture as an adult
  • Caucasian or Asian race
  • Postmenopausal state
  • Early menopause
  • Small bone structure or low body weight
  • Long-term use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids

Modifiable

  • Low calcium intake
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Recurrent falls, which predispose to fractures
DETECTION To assess bone loss, the gold standard is the DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan. It is simple, safe, painless, quick, and accurate.
  

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