Bone density screening is key to preventing fractures

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month

bone screeningContributed by Abid Yaqub, MD

This month, I’m calling on women and men to start conversations about bone health as the first step to protecting themselves from osteoporosis. In the U.S. today, more than 10 million individuals have osteoporosis. There are also more than 34 million people with low bone density, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. In fact, a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. Although relatively more common in women, men are not immune from developing osteoporosis or low trauma fractures.

For women, postmenopausal osteoporosis is the most common form of osteoporosis. Why? After menopause, ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen, which helps keep bones strong. Referred to as the “silent disease,” you often don’t realize bone loss is taking place until a break or fracture is experienced. And unfortunately at that point, the risk of another fracture is high. This is why it’s very important to make the diagnosis of osteoporosis before the first fracture occurs. Doing so allows you to make lifestyle changes and/or start any necessary treatments to prevent fractures.

Take charge of your bone health

Broken bones don’t have to be in your future. You can take preventive measures now to protect yourself from developing osteoporosis. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Get enough calcium, vitamin D and eat a well balanced diet including fruits and vegetables.
  • Talk with family members and loved ones about bone health and ways to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Engage in regular weight bearing bone-healthy exercise.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to less than two to three drinks per day.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your osteoporosis risk factors and ask when you should get a bone density test.

The providers at the Women’s Center evaluate and treat many metabolic bone diseases including osteoporosis, osteopenia, Paget’s disease and primary hyperparathyroidism. Our state-of-the-art, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) bone density scanning system provides a painless, high-quality scan with minimum radiation exposure to assess your bone density. It’s never too early or too late to take steps to improve bone health. To schedule a DXA scan, please call (513) 475-UC4U.

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