More than 53 million people in the United States today suffer from osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating bone disease. Dr. William Brelsford and our staff at the Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinic in Tyler, Texas, offer a variety of treatments to help you maintain strong, healthy bones for life.
May is National Osteoporosis Month, so we’d like to share some treatments that help our patients cope with osteoporosis and even reverse its progression.
What exactly is osteoporosis?
The name osteoporosis actually means “porous bone.” Osteoporosis occurs when the holes and spaces in the bone tissue get bigger causing the bones to decrease in density. At the same time, the outer shells of the bones becomes thinner. Overall, the body loses too much bone and creates too little to replace it.
Women in menopause are especially vulnerable to developing osteoporosis. As estrogen drops dramatically, they undergo rapid bone loss, often losing as much as 40% of their inner bone and 10% of their outer bone. As a result, bones become weaker and may break from even a minor fall or injury. Men also become more susceptible to bone loss later in life.
Many other medical conditions can lead to osteoporosis, from autoimmune disease and cancer to hormone loss and certain medications, such as cortisone, prednisone, and lithium.
Could I suffer from osteoporosis without being aware?
Bone is actually living tissue. Your body continually replaces older bone tissue with new tissue. Around age 30, our bodies reach peak bone mass and then begin to replace less bone as we age.
You may already exhibit some of the symptoms of osteoporosis, such as pain or stiffness. However, many of us are completely unaware of this potentially silent disease until we break a bone, notice a change in height, or feel a greater curvature to our spine. That’s why it’s so important to get ahead of the game. If you’re 50 or older, you need a bone density test. After age 65, it helps to test yearly.
Can I slow or reverse the progression of osteoporosis?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to thwart this seemingly inevitable disease:
- Increase your physical activity. Weight-bearing workouts, such as hiking, jogging, weight training, tennis, and dancing can improve your odds.
- Enjoy more calcium-rich foods. Enjoy cheese, yogurt, and almonds. Fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, and foods fortified with vitamin D, including orange juice, soy milk, and certain cereals, also help build stronger bones.
- Make lifestyle changes. Limit your consumption of tobacco and alcohol, which can slow the disease’s progression.
In many instances, Dr. Brelsford recommends medications, such as Reclast® and Prolia®. He administers Reclast through an IV infusion to maintain bone health. Prolia, which is an injection given every six months, is especially helpful for women in menopause.
These medications can halt the progression of osteoporosis and even reverse it entirely. Since they’re administered via infusion or injection, you never have to remind yourself to take your osteoporosis pills or worry about digestive problems that could arise from ingesting them.
Dr. Brelsford can address all of your concerns about your bones and evaluate you for osteoporosis. Simply call our office or book an appointment online.