Osteoporosis affects both men and women

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 1:10 PM EDT
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Most people don’t give much thought to bone density, but as we age, osteoporosis becomes a growing concern. In this week’s Medical Monday, Kathy McCarty has more on who’s susceptible and what you can do to protect your bones.

Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease, affecting bone density over time. Dr. Wendy Boucher says it’s a very slow, progressive condition you might not even be aware is happening.

“It’s usually most common in post-menopausal women. So typically speaking, we screen for people 65 and over, that’s the primary age group. But we don’t discount people who may have had hysterectomies at a younger age, because if they’ve had a hysterectomy and both of the ovaries removed, them effectively they’ve been through menopause, and so they’re at risk as well,” says Dr. Wendy Boucher, Orthopedic Surgeon at Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital.

The simplest way to detect the disease, which affects both men and women, is a bone density study.

Dr. Boucher says, “It’s very similar to an X-ray, so it’s painless. It’s very quick, and it will give us a measure of what their bone density is, compared to a normal age-matched individual.”

Broken bones are common, including spine, hip, shoulder and wrist.

“We hear about people having hip fractures all the time, and most people attribute it to a fall, but often, or some of the time, it can be that the bone actually gave way, causing the fall. But since they all happen so quickly, it’s hard to determine ‘did one happen first or the other?’ But if somebody has weaker bone and they trip and fall, they’re more likely to break their hip,” she says.

Treatment varies.

“Some of those are treated non-operatively, and some are treated with surgery. Surgery can be - can range from minimally invasive to more invasive, where we have to do even hip replacements,” says Dr. Boucher.

Dr. Boucher says if caught early, medication can help slow bone deterioration. For more information, contact your primary care provider. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

We’ll have more on the latest treatment for osteoporosis on next week’s edition of Medical Monday.

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