March 18, 2014 > Taking a Proactive Approach to Treating Osteoporosis
Taking a Proactive Approach to Treating Osteoporosis
Learn About Treatment Options at Free Upcoming Education Session
Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease that is often silent. An individual may not realize he or she has osteoporosis until they sustain a fracture, likely caused by a fall. While significant bone density loss cannot be reversed, early awareness with preventive action can slow its progress.
ÒItÕs important to understand that progressive loss of bone density over time in is a natural result of the skeletal system as it ages, but accelerated bone density loss seen in osteoporosis can be managed and slowed with pro-active treatment,Ó said Kari Robertson, a certified physician assistant who specializes in orthopedics and sports medicine with the Washington Township Medical Foundation.
Part of the Healthy Knowledge at Noon Education Series, Robertson will present a free education session titled: ÒOsteoporosis and WomenÓ on Monday, March 24, from Noon to 1 p.m. at the Washington WomenÕs Center Conference Room located at 2500 Mowry Avenue, 1st floor, (Washington West) in Fremont.
Robertson, who has a masterÕs degree in physician assistant studies and a masterÕs degree in biomechanics, will discuss the causes of osteoporosis including; how the disease is diagnosed, DEXA scans, treatments, complications of the disease and, most importantly, what steps to take to delay or slow down the progress osteoporosis. Informational material to take home will be available for program participants.
While the presentation focuses on osteoporosis in women, men also suffer the disease in smaller numbers and are welcome to attend the lecture. Much of the material in the presentation applies women specifically, but the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis is quite similar across the spectrum of both sexes, Robertson said.
ÒEveryone will suffer from bone loss if you live long enough,Ó Robertson said. ÒIn women it often occurs after menopause with the loss of estrogen and similarly it can occur in men with the loss of androgen,Ó she added.
Other causes of osteoporosis may include alcoholism, high doses and long term use of corticosteroids, tobacco abuse and, less commonly, genetic disorders, extensive immobilization from an accident or illness, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, anorexia, and medications such as blood thinners and certain medications used to treat depression.
Osteoporosis often is most commonly diagnosed by a combination of the following; bone density scans (DEXA), x-rays of the spine, family history, fracture history, current medications, and or changes seen in an individualÕs posture or stature over time.
Robertson emphasizes that it is important to be proactive and approach the disease before it appears as a fracture or other skeletal issue such as spinal compression.
ÒI recommend that patients first have a conversation with their physician or endocrinologist about their potential risk for osteoporosis,Ó she says.
Tips for Prevention
Robertson will share some prevention recommendations that can help reduce your risk which include; instituting weight-bearing exercise, ensuring adequate calcium and Vitamin D intake, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and minimizing risk for falls. She will also discuss how to fall-proof your home and how to assess your risk for falls.
While less common, osteoporosis can occur in younger women before the onset of menopause. This is usually due to secondary causes which can be a result of calcium or Vitamin D deficiency, uncommon fragility fractures, eating disorders, or metabolic disease. Bone density scans are not recommended for younger women without a specific medical reason or suspicion for osteopenia or osteoporosis. However, Robertson again emphasized the importance of discussions with oneÕs physician to assess risk and determine preventive treatments.
ÒIndividuals need to be their own health care advocates with their physicians,Ó Robertson said. ÒIt is important to understand the disease Ñ that it can progress irreversibly without any visible signs Ñ and that early, simple preventive actions can delay its onset and slow it down.Ó
Learn More About Osteoporosis
To register for the upcoming seminar, visit www.whhs.com/event/class-registration or call (800) 963-7070. To learn more about the wide variety of programs and services at the Washington WomenÕs Center, visit www.whhs.com/womenscenter.