Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the term used to describe a loss of bone mass. Both men and women can suffer with osteoporosis, but it tends to strike women more than men. Older women are especially susceptible to osteoporosis as their hormone levels shift with age. If you’ve noticed that your bones have a curvature or that your posture is changing, it may be from thinning bones. Osteoporosis may also be the cause of certain back pains that you experience. An orthopedic spine surgeon can work with you to determine if what you’re suffering from is osteoporosis or something more.

Causes of Osteoporosis

There are different causes of osteoporosis, but the main causes seem to be hormonal decline and loss of calcium. Men with a testosterone deficiency, and women with an estrogen deficiency, are at a higher risk to develop osteoporosis. The body also seems to lose calcium stores and vitamin D stores with age. This loss of needed nutrients contributes to thinning of the bones.

Other causes include tumors and cancerous cells in the body that affect bone mass, previous fractures, genetics, and medication use. Patients who regularly take a medication for a chronic condition, like steroids, are at an increased risk for bone mass loss because these medications affect the strength and mass of the bone. An orthopedic spine surgeon will conduct an extensive medical history to determine if anything in your past may be causing your current pain or bone structure changes.

Treatment for Osteoporosis

There are many different options available for sufferers of osteoporosis, and surgery isn’t always the recommended route. In fact, many doctors will work with patients to begin a plan for prevention of future bone loss and recommend a course of action to increase overall bone health. If your osteoporosis is causing other problems, an orthopedic spine surgeon will take x-rays and perform other tests to determine if you’re a candidate for any type of spinal surgery.

Common treatment includes increasing calcium and vitamin D intake, increasing the amount of daily exercise, specifically weight bearing exercises, or taking hormone replacement or prescription bone medications. If you think that you’re experiencing symptoms of osteoporosis, contact your doctor for a painless bone density test.

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