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Osteoporosis: A disease that affects both men & women

November 4, 2012
Reinbeck Courier

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During this time of year, Grundy County Memorial Hospital wants to make everyone aware of another disease that affects both men and women. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and that almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased risk of fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Both men and women are affected by osteoporosis. One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. In some cases fractures can occur with just a sneeze. The good news is that osteoporosis is a disease that can be prevented and treated. Bone mass measurement, often called a DEXA scan, can aid in the early detection of osteoporosis before fractures occur, provide a precursor to future fractures, and determine rate of bone loss.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends adults ages 19 50 incorporate at least 1,000 mg per day of calcium, preferably in calcium-rich foods and 1,200 mg per day for everyone over the age of 50. Keep in mind: You don't have to drink your body weight in milk to get calcium. Green vegetables are also high in calcium, while some soy products have been calcium-fortified. Vitamin D is also important, as is regular physical activity, limiting alcohol use, and not smoking. If you are over 50 and any of the following pertain to you, it is recommended that you consult your provider about bone density testing. If you: are a post-menopausal woman and not taking estrogen. Have a personal or maternal history of hip fracture or smoking. Are a post-menopausal woman who is tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or thin (less than 125 pounds). Are a man with clinical conditions associated with bone loss. Use medications that are known to cause bone loss, including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications, or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs. Have type 1 (formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent) diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease or a family history of osteoporosis. Have a thyroid condition, such as hyperthyroidism. Have a parathyroid condition, such as hyperparathyroidism. Have experienced a fracture after only mild trauma. Have had x-ray evidence of vertebral fracture.

Early detection is easy. The Department of Health advises adults to ask their doctor or health care provider if they should have a bone density scan to detect loss of bone mass. The scan is safe, quick and painless. The mission of Grundy County Memorial Hospital is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve. To schedule your DEXA scan, please call GCMH Scheduling at (319) 824-5081 or (888) 824-5081. For questions regarding this exam, please call the GCMH Radiology Department at (319) 824-5086.



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