We all want the freedom to move, which is why bone health is so important. Bone breaks and fractures can lead to chronic pain, long-term physical disability, and can prevent us from engaging in the exciting activities our valleys have to offer. Fractures can also be a sign of a serious condition called osteoporosis, or low bone mass. If osteoporosis is left untreated or ill-managed, it can lead to further fractures and trauma later in life. When you break or fracture a bone, it is vital that you receive the right diagnosis, medical care, and establish a plan to manage your bone health.
At ValleyOrtho, we offer a comprehensive suite of services designed to help patients reach and maintain optimum bone health. Through collaborative care between our Osteoporosis and Bone Health Specialists and primary care physicians, ValleyOrtho can address all your bone health needs, including bone health assessments, fracture prevention plans and treatment, medication management, and follow-up care.
BONE HEALTH & FRACTURE PREVENTION SERVICE AT VALLEYORTHO
At ValleyOrtho, we take a prevention-first approach to bone health. We are not only here to help you heal after a fracture, we aim to prevent fractures in the first place. We offer personalized care and can work with you and your primary care provider on a long-term management plan that will get you back to your best as soon as possible.
During the initial consultation, patients may be referred for a wide range of tests to address specific areas of concern and establish a blueprint for ongoing bone health management. These tests could include:
- A physical exam
- A bone density study. Our radiology team will use our state-of-the-art dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machine to test your bone density, year-over-year degradation, and establish your risk of future fractures.
- Laboratory work-up. A comprehensive set of laboratory tests will show a propensity to fracture or repeat fracture.
The results of these tests will give your fracture liaison services team a complete view of your bone health and, if necessary, help develop a personalized management plan to help treat any existing injuries and prevent fractures in the future.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates that 50% of women and 20% of men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. These figures are concerning; however, with increased screening options and better technology now available for at-risk individuals, earlier diagnosis and treatment can minimize fractures. Even after the first fracture has occurred, there are now effective treatments to increase bone density and reduce the risk of additional fractures.
If you or a family member are concerned about bone health or have recently suffered a fracture from a simple bump or fall, we encourage you to contact us for a Bone Health Evaluation.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, leaving them more prone to breaks and fractures. This occurs when there is an imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation—a natural process that occurs during one’s life—resulting in a decrease in bone density. As bones become less dense and more brittle, even a minor impact or fall can cause a severe fracture.
It is estimated that 10 million people within the United States have osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone mass (or osteopenia)—placing them at an increased risk of fractures.
Symptoms & Signs of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is often called the ‘silent disease’ because it is virtually symptom-free, and an unexpected fracture or break is often the first sign of the disease. It is important you pay attention to key risk factors to help identify osteoporosis early.
Who is at Risk of Osteoporosis?
While the risk of developing osteoporosis does increase as you age, osteoporosis, osteopenia, and the fractures that occur from these diseases are NOT a normal part of aging. Several other factors place people at risk of these diseases. Some of these factors are listed below:
- Sex – Women are much more likely than men to develop osteoporosis.
- Older age – As you age, your risk increases.
- Family history – If you have a family history of osteoporosis or have a mother or father who has fractured a hip, you are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Dietary factors – People with diets lacking in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D (essential for healthy bone formation) are at a higher risk.
- Race – If you are white or of Asian descent, your risk increases.
- Smoking – smoking increases the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
- Body size – smaller people have less bone mass to draw on as they age and are therefore at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Medical conditions – including hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and GI diseases such as Celiac Disease and Crohn’s Disease, can increase your risk.
- Alcohol consumption – drinking more than 2-3 alcoholic beverages per day increases your risk of getting osteoporosis.
- Sedentary lifestyle – physical activity stimulates bone remodeling, which can help prevent osteoporosis.
- Steroids and other medications – prolonged use of some medications, including; steroids and anti-seizure drugs can contribute to osteoporosis.
Prevention & The Importance of Bone HealthWhile some risk factors you cannot change—such as your age or race—there are several lifestyle risk factors that you can manage to reduce your risk. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends the following five steps to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis and broken bones:
- Enjoy a balanced diet and ensure you are getting the recommended daily intake of calcium and Vitamin D. Take supplements if you need to.
- Get regular exercise—including weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
- Do NOT smoke and limit alcohol consumption.
- Take an osteoporosis medication when it is right—and recommended—for you.
- Talk to your primary care physician or bone heath & osteoporosis specialist about your chance of developing osteoporosis and schedule a bone density test.
The risk of future breaks increases with each new fracture; therefore, it is vital you seek professional treatment as soon as possible.
Referrals to ValleyOrtho
All patients admitted to Valley View Hospital’s Emergency Room due to a bone break or fracture are referred to the ValleyOrtho.
If you have not recently visited the Emergency Room but are concerned about your bone health, please contact us. Our dedicated and highly experienced team is here to help. Call 970.384.7140.