Starting around the age of 40, you gradually begin to lose bone mass. Then the process accelerates at a dizzying pace after menopause, resulting in nearly 25% of all women having osteoporosis by the age of 65. Hill Country OB/GYN offers referrals for osteoporosis screening and treatment. Screening is recommended for all women over the age of 65 and for younger women at high risk. To learn more about osteoporosis, call one of the offices in Austin or Dripping Springs, Texas.
+ What Causes Osteoporosis?
Throughout your life, your bones stay healthy by continuously discarding old and damaged bone and replacing it with new bone. As you lose bone mass, your bones become thin, weak, and brittle. When you lose more bone than you can replace, you develop osteoporosis. All adults begin to lose bone mass in midlife, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get osteoporosis. Your risk of osteoporosis increases due to:
- Calcium deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Lack of weight-bearing exercise
- Hormone imbalances
- Medications such as oral corticosteroids
Some health conditions contribute to osteoporosis, such as thyroid disease, kidney or liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders.
+ Does Menopause Increase My Risk of Osteoporosis?
Estrogen has a role in bone metabolism, where it helps preserve bone mass. When estrogen levels drop after menopause, your risk for osteoporosis dramatically increases. Bone loss proceeds at a rapid pace in the first 4-8 years after menopause. Without treatment, you can lose 40% of spongy inner bone and 10% of hard, outer bone within 10 years.
+ What Complications Arise Due to Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is the top cause of fractures in women after they reach menopause. It most often causes compression fractures in your spine, hips, and wrists.
If you develop multiple compression fractures in your spine, you can lose height or develop a dowager’s hump.
+ What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis seldom causes symptoms until your bones get weak enough to cause back pain, fracture, or affect your posture or height. Most women won’t know they have osteoporosis unless they undergo screening.
+ How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
DEXA uses a very small dose of radiation to scan your bones and evaluate bone loss. It determines whether you have osteoporosis. It also shows your risk of developing osteoporosis so your doctor can create a treatment plan to prevent it from forming. Hill Country will refer you for osteoporosis screening by DEXA.
+ How is Osteoporosis Treated?
For menopause-related osteoporosis, you can slow down or prevent bone loss with BioTE® bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen levels.
Your doctor may prescribe a bisphosphonate, which is a medication that may stop or slow down bone loss. It’s also important to get enough calcium and vitamin D and to engage in weight-bearing exercise.
To discuss osteoporosis screening or to explore treatment options, call Hill Country OB/GYN today.