Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to loss of bone density and an increased risk for bone fractures. The onset of osteoporosis in women is often linked to lower levels of estrogen that occur during menopause. Estrogen aids in keeping your bones strong and when estrogen levels start to decrease it can lead to loss of bone mass. Women over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk for developing osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to prevent and treat osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.
Often bone loss that leads to osteoporosis goes unnoticed. Symptoms may not be present until a fracture or strain occurs. Because of this, screening can be very important in catching bone loss and weakening early.
Bone density tests use concentrated X-rays to measure bone mineral content—the high content, the more dense the bones, and the less likely to break. Osteoporosis screenings are suggested for women 65 and older, and women that have had previous fractures or that have other risk factors present.
Treatment for osteoporosis aids in maintaining current bone density and slowing the loss of bone mass. We may recommend lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk factors for further bone loss. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are also very useful in treating osteoporosis. In some cases, medication or hormonal therapy will be used.