Osteoporosis tends to sneak up on you; you may not have any signs of a problem until a weakened bone breaks. Although men and women develop osteoporosis, it occurs five times more often in women than men. Maurice Sheetz, MD, at Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey specializes in osteoporosis and is a certified clinical densitometrist who can evaluate bone density scans and develop a customized treatment for each patient. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Vineland, New Jersey.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones lose density and become weak and brittle. All adults experience an age-related drop in bone density that starts in midlife and continues as they get older. Women are especially challenged by bone loss at menopause. When their estrogen levels drop, bone loss accelerates.
As you get older, you also lose bone through another process that normally keeps bones healthy. Your body maintains strong bones by remodeling, or continuously getting rid of old and damaged bone and replacing it with new bone. When you lose more bone than is replaced, you develop osteoporosis.
This imbalance commonly occurs when you:
Your risk of developing osteoporosis also increases if you have inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
As an expert in osteoporosis, Dr. Sheetz can assess your risk and help you determine when you should consider a bone mineral density test to screen for osteoporosis.
You may not have any symptoms until you suffer a fragility fracture. Fragility fractures occur when a weakened bone, often your hip or wrist, breaks even though the force it sustained should not have caused any harm.
As osteoporosis affects your spine, you have back pain and may experience:
Vertebrae that are weakened by osteoporosis start to compress or flatten. When several bones are affected, you lose a noticeable amount of your height.
Compression fractures caused by osteoporosis usually occur in the front of the vertebrae. As a result, the height at the back of the bone remains normal while the front part flattens. If you develop multiple compression fractures, the height difference makes the spine bend forward, causing a hunched appearance.
The first line of treatment for osteoporosis includes calcium and vitamin D supplements to boost bone production and density.
If supplements don’t help, Dr. Sheetz may prescribe one of several medications known as bisphosphonates, which increase bone density by preventing bone loss. Men and women may also prevent or improve osteoporosis with hormone replacement therapy.
To learn more about preventing or treating osteoporosis, call Medical Alliance of Southern New Jersey or book an appointment online.