Osteoporosis… Do You Know Your Risk?

August 2, 2016

One of the best defenses for Osteoporosis is simply knowing your risk.

Osteoporosis is often confused with osteoarthritis, but it is quite different.  Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down, making joint movement difficult.  With osteoporosis the bone itself is reduced, becoming more porous, fragile, and likely to break.  The loss of bone occurs silently and progressively, and sometimes there are no symptoms until the first fracture occurs.  This is why it is crucial to know your risk in advance.

Caucasian women over 50, who have a small bone frame are particular targets of the condition.  “There’s a reason Boniva uses Sally Fields in its commercials,” says Andrew Fields, NP-C at Columbia Medical Associates.  “Onset typically begins soon after menopause, because there is less estrogen circulating within the body, and estrogen is protective of bone.”   Family history of the disease and a personal history of smoking are also strong risk factors. 

If you are in the risk group, take note of pain that occurs in the spine and wrists.  If you are concerned that you may be experiencing aggressive bone loss, either as osteoporosis or its precursor osteopenia, contact your primary care physician to discuss your pain and risk factors. “Often the density change begins in the lumbar spine and hips, which are especially dangerous areas to become weak.”

Evaluate your risk factors.  Talk to your family members about bone breaks that relatives experienced in old age, and if necessary, talk to your provider about further testing.  It is possible to slow down bone loss.  Reversing it is a whole different story.

Andrew Fields, NP-C, is a graduate of The Citadel, Life University, Hardin Simmons University and Samford University.   He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Masters of Science degree in Nursing, Doctorate of Chiropractic and is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner.  Andrew has been treating patients in Columbia for over 12 years, and he currently practices full-time with Columbia Medical Associates.   He resides in Northeast Columbia with his wife and their two children.

Providence Columbia Medical Associates, a primary care practice is located at 2750 Laurel Street, Suite 303, Columbia, SC 29204.