What is Osteoporosis?

Balcones OBGYN specializes in treating and diagnosing osteoporosis in women. Osteoporosis is a disorder characterized by a progressive reduction in bone density that causes brittle and fragile bones consequently increasing the risk of skeletal fractures. It occurs most commonly in women following menopause however it can also occur in men and women of varying ages and all races. It is estimated that one in two women will experience a fracture resulting from osteoporosis in their lifetime.

Risk Factors Associated with Osteoporosis

Just getting older is a risk in itself in developing osteoporosis since loss of bone mass is a natural occurrence with aging. The most at risk population for osteoporosis are small-framed, average or underweight Caucasian and Asian women. Other risk factors include a diet with inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and postmenopausal women.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disorder that usually does not have any noticeable symptoms and may be undetectable on X-rays until moderate bone loss takes place. This disorder may not be diagnosed until a fracture has already occurred. Fractures that are caused by osteoporosis usually take place under circumstances that normally would not result in injury. The common areas of the body for osteoporosis related fractures to occur would be the wrists, vertebra and the hips.
Symptoms that may in addition be noted would be a decrease in height from osteoporosis related fractures arising in the bones in the spine. These fractures in the vertebrae can cause back pain. Being hunched over, poor posture and a hump forming on the upper back area which is called kyphosis is furthermore associated with the development of osteoporosis.

Austin Bone Density Tests

To determine if a woman has osteoporosis, we check bone density which we  measure using different tests such as the DXA or dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. This is a painless bone density study that uses a specialized X-ray machine to scan areas such as the spine, wrists and hips to measure for bone loss. Bone density tests are used to help diagnose osteoporosis and track the effectiveness of treatments being used.

Suffering from Osteoporosis? We Have Treatment Options

Treatment for osteoporosis is focused on slowing down the progression of the disorder. There are many effective treatments and lifestyle modifications that we use that can improve bone density. One treatment that is effective for our postmenopausal clients is hormone replacement therapy or HRT. HRT replaces the hormone estrogen in women which can increase and maintain bone density. Other ways to maintain and increase bone density is by performing weight-bearing exercises regularly. This includes lifting weights, climbing stairs, walking, and dancing. This type of activity promotes new bone formation.
Another essential part of our treatment is to promote skeletal health and bone formation is to ensure  and encourage our clients to have adequate nutrition. This would include ensuring intake of the recommended daily amounts of both calcium and vitamin D. In addition reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol along with smoking cessation would also slow down the progression of osteoporosis since all three have been contributed to reducing the formation of new bone and increasing bone loss. Dr. Binford and her Austin team may also prescribe bisphosphonates, which are a commonly used treatment for Osteoporosis.

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Contact us today at 512-452-8888 to schedule an appointment, or to learn more about the services that we provide. We will be pleased assist you in your Austin cancer screening needs.