What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become thinner, weaker, and more likely to break. Approximately one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture. If you have osteoporosis, your bones can suffer fractures just from doing everyday activities like walking, getting up from sitting, or normal household chores. Osteoporosis fractures can also occur if you fall. These fractures can dramatically change the quality of life for patients and their families due to a loss of patient independence, significant disability, and even death. Nearly 1 in 3 individuals will lose some level of independence after an osteoporosis fracture, and 1 in 4 individuals who suffer an osteoporosis hip fracture die within a year of the fracture.
Osteoporosis is therefore one of the most serious diseases that impacts individuals over the age of 50, yet most individuals with osteoporosis don't find out they have the condition until after they suffer their first fracture. Many primary care doctors don't have the time or tools available to screen patients for osteoporosis, which can make it challenging to treat the disease. However, at AzBJSMC, we have a comprehensive program to screen patients for osteoporosis along with a highly effective program to improve bone strength and prevent falls. We are the only clinic in Arizona to offer such a comprehensive program.
Our unique bone health and fracture prevention program
Our unique program at AzBJSMC is designed not only to strengthen your bones, but also to help you prevent falls. When you see us in the clinic, we will perform a comprehensive set of tests and surveys to assess your bone health and fall risk. If you see us over telehealth, we will have you complete surveys and look at your movement patterns over the video chat. If you appear to be at risk of osteoporosis, we will perform a special test called a DEXA scan that can tell us exactly how strong your bones are. We will also have you do some blood tests to look at other other markers of bone health.
If you have osteoporosis, we would then recommend starting treatment. The most common medication used for treating osteoporosis is Prolia, which is a safe and effective medication that helps to build bone strength. Prolia is administered as a virtually painless injection into your arm once every 6 months. For patients that have more severe osteoporosis we may recommend another medication called Evenity, which can build bone faster than Prolia and is delivered as a once a month injection. If you are not a candidate for these treatment options, we will discuss other medications that may be used.
We will also provide you with nutrition advise as well as some simple supplements you can take that can supplement the medications and improve bone health.
There are also simple exercises that can be done to improve bone health and prevent falls. We will provide you with an evidenced-based medicine program to help you
If you are at increased risks of falls, we will start you on a physical therapy program to help improve your balance and prevent falls. This program can be completed with our partners at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, other physical therapy clinics that have appropriate equipment and training, or with a home based program you can complete using your phone or tablet.
Insurance typically covers all or most of the costs of osteoporosis treatment.
Our comprehensive bone health and fracture prevention program will help keep your bones strong, keep you from falling, and help you live an active and healthy life!
Other information about osteoporosis
Osteopenia vs osteoporosis
Osteopenia can be thought of as a less severe form of osteoporosis, but most patients with osteopenia go on to develop osteoporosis. At one time, many medical providers would take a "watch and wait" approach to osteopenia, where patients with osteopenia would not begin treatment for their low bone mass. However, recent research has shown that patients with osteopenia can be at elevated risk for fragility fractures and treating patients when they have osteopenia makes it easier to retain bone mass rather than starting later. So if you've been told you have osteopenia but you didn't start treatment to improve your bone mass, now is the time to consider treating your osteopenia.
- Osteoporosis has no signs or symptoms until a fracture occurs - this is why it is often called a "silent disease."
- One-half of all women and up to one-quarter of all men will suffer a fragility fracture in their lifetime.
- If you've had a previous fragility fracture, you are twice as likely to suffer a fracture in the future.
- 5 to 10% of patients experience a recurrent hip fracture with about 3.3 years between the first and second fracture.
- 80% of individuals who have already had at least one osteoporotic fracture are neither identified nor treated.
- Fragility fractures have become nearly epidemic in the United States among older adults, with over 2 million fractures occurring each year - more than heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer combined.
More information about osteoporosis