What is included in an osteoporosis consultation?
The osteoporosis consultation concerns the loss of total bone mass, impairment of bone structure and the consequences and possible prevention of osteoporosis in the elderly.
What are the symptoms and how would I know whether I have osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is symptom free for quite some time (often called the Silent Epidemic for this reason) but, the loss of height, an increasingly bent back, the decreased distance between the ribs and the hips and the presence of kidney stones may be indicators to the health professional. In all actuality, however, until the first bone fracture (following a minor impact) osteoporosis can only be diagnosed with instrumental diagnostic equipment.
How is osteoporosis tested?
The bone densitometer (DEXA) is used to measure bone density to assess the current condition and the risks long before any symptoms are manifested. X-rays only show osteoporosis in its more advanced form, when the bone density has decreased by about a third, or, when following a fracture. Laboratory blood tests and urinalysis provide important information regarding the extent of bone loss, hormone levels, the body’s calcium and vitamin D levels as well as possible accompanying disorders. The effectiveness of the treatments can also be controlled with laboratory tests.
Who should have an osteoporosis examination?
The osteoporosis examination is of special importance to women (due, on the one hand, to the hormonal effects on their bodies and, on the other, their smaller bone mass to begin with) but the men are also at risk. Women should have an osteoporosis examination at age fifty or at the start of menopause, while men are recommended to undergo the examination above age seventy.
We especially recommend it to those whose family medical history includes osteoporosis, or, who were diagnosed with a hormonal disorder, thyroid or metabolic diseases. Heavy smokers and regular alcohol drinkers should also take the examination since their bones are also at greater risk of osteoporosis.
What happens during the examination?
The examination is entirely painless. You will be asked to lie on on a padded table on your back and hold very still while the Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) measures the density of the areas most prone to fracture - the hip and the spine,. The process takes 5-15 minutes. No preparation is required.
What are the risk factors of osteoporosis?
There are many risk factors – such as advanced age, a sedentary life style, low calcium intake, Vitamin D deficiency, use of certain (steroids or hormone) medications, smoking, excessive coffee and alcohol intake, soft drinks containing phosphoric acid and foods preservatives, small stature and low body weight, earlier than average menopause, chronic thyroid, stomach, liver and kidney disorders. Around 660,000 women and 330,000 men suffer from this disorder in Hungary and most are not aware of this danger.
How can I prevent osteoporosis?
Prevention (maintaining the current bone density or increasing it) can be successful with the appropriate amount of calcium and Vitamin D intake, a balanced diet, increased physical activity and medications that increase bone density.
What types of exercises strengthen the bones?
The best exercises are those that use the body’s weight such as walking, stair climbing, ball games, exercises that involve kicking. Swimming and yoga are not ideal from this standpoint, but since they contribute much to your general health, they may be chosen as well.
What health aids may help correct my condition?
If needed, a walking stick or walker may be used for stability while walking, a padded pair of pants may be worn to protect the hips in the event of a fall and a spine corset to take weight off the spine.
What are the available medication therapies?
Medications are available that increase the formation of new bone and prevent bone loss that are used in addition to the proper amount of calcium and Vitamin D intake. Possible hormone replacement may also be considered.