About 28 million Americans have osteoporosis. Nearly 80 percent of these are women. About one out of two women 50 and older will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. The most typical sites of fractures related to osteoporosis are the hip, spine, wrist and ribs, although the disease can affect any bone in the body.
Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss occurs without symptoms. You may not know you have it until a sudden strain, bump or fall causes a fracture or vertebra to collapse.
Initial symptoms of a collapsed vertebra include:
- Severe back pain
- Loss of height
- Spinal deformities such as stooped posture
A woman's risk for osteoporosis increases with menopause. In the five to seven years following menopause, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass. Other risk factors that you can't control include:
- Being female
- Being thin and/or having a small frame
- Your age
- A family history of osteoporosis
- Being Caucasian or Asian
- Certain medications
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are some things you can do to help treat or prevent it.
- Diet (Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.)
- Lifestyle (Live healthy, avoid smoking and limit your alcohol intake.)
- Exercise (Stay active and use weights.)
- Monitor your health. (Have your bone density tested and use medication when appropriate.)
Our Diagnostic Services
The only accurate way to diagnose osteoporosis is through a screening test called bone densitometry, which can also predict your chances of having a bone fracture in the future, determine your rate of bone loss and monitor the effects of treatment.
Baptist's Women's Health Center offers bone densitometry diagnostic screening services at the Baptist Women's Hospital. Our staff can offer support and help you determine the best method of treatment. Call the Women’s Health Center at 901-226-0810 for more information.