Osteoporosis

With 20 years of experience, Dr. Scumpia provides diagnosis, treatment and management of osteoporosis and osteopenia with on-site bone density.

Osteoporosis (porous bones) is a disease in which the bones become fragile and more likely to break.  Bone loss occurs without you knowing it.  Bone mass grows and bone density peaks at age 20-25.  After mid-life, gradual bone loss takes over. Bone loss accelerates for women in menopause (40s and 50s), but affects men as well.  Your hip, spine and wrist are especially prone to fracture.  Osteopenia, a more moderate decline in bone mass, is an early indicator of potential problems.

Risk Factors

Your risk for developing osteoporosis is higher if you are female, post-menopause, older, have a family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture, have a thin or small frame, or are Caucasian or Asian. Additional factors are inactive lifestyle, diet low in calcium or vitamin D, low testosterone, smoking, excessive drinking. If you lost more than one and a half inches of height you need to have a bone density test.

Signs and Symptoms

Often the first sign of osteoporosis is bone fracture.  Some people have spine fractures, which lead to a curve in the upper back. Back pain, stooped posture, and loss of height are other symptoms. Hip fractures can lead to loss of mobility and the ability to live independently. 300,000 Americans have hip fractures each year.

Diagnosis

Bone density testing for osteoporosis or osteopenia is done using a DXA scanner, which is a non-invasive test that quickly measures bone mass.  All women aged 65 and older and all men aged 70 and older should have a bone density test. If you have risk factors, the testing should occur earlier, at age 50 to 69.

Treatment

Osteoporosis prevention and treatment consists of exercise and enough calcium in your diet (1,200 mg daily).  You may need calcium supplements, but excessive calcium may cause kidney stones and heart disease. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Since most adults have low vitamin D, as you age, consider taking vitamin D supplements.

Today there are multiple medications to treat osteoporosis by slowing down bone loss, and one even helping build new bone.  Dr. Scumpia has extensive experience in choosing the right medication for your needs.

You can help your bone health by reducing the risk of osteoporosis.  Stop smoking, avoid or limit alcohol, get enough vitamin D, do weight bearing exercises such as walking or climbing stairs.

OSTEOPOROSIS AND OSTEOPENIA

Osteoporosis (“thinning of the bones”) leads to bone fractures. Osteopenia is a pre-condition to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more common in women, and about 50 percent of women will develop the condition. Around 20 percent of males will also develop osteoporosis. The diagnosis is made by performing a bone density test, which measures calcium amounts in your bones. It is an easy, non-invasive procedure with very little radiation.

We offer a bone density test onsite in our osteoporosis center, and Dr. Scumpia gives immediate interpretation, diagnosis and treatment.

Risk factors for osteoporosis include: menopause, low calcium intake, family history of hip fracture, alcoholism, low testosterone in males, history of kidney stones, previous history of fracture, intestinal malabsorption, kidney disease and prior or present history of steroid treatment (hydrocortisone and prednisone).

Treatment of osteoporosis is straightforward, and includes several drugs: bisphosphonates (Fosamax, Alendronate, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast, Residronate), recombinant parathyroid hormone (Forteo, Teriparatide), Prolia, and anti-estrogens (Evista).

A bone density test is recommended for all women in menopause, and for those who have any risk factors described above.

Periodic bone densities should be done by the treating physician to ensure a good response to the treatments underlined above.


FAQs

How should I prepare for my bone density?

You should not have any calcium preparations the day prior to your procedure, and do not wear any metallic belts. Fasting is not required for this procedure, and the amount of radiation is minimal.

What if I am not experiencing menopause?

Pre-menopausal women should have a bone density only if they have several risk factors (described above). It is important to remember that we do not have scientific data about treating pre-menopausal women, with the exception of steroid-induced osteoporosis.

Should I have a bone density test if I am male?

Yes, you should, if you have a history of alcoholism, low testosterone, kidney stones, kidney disease, family history of hip fracture, or if you are over the age of 60 and had a history of fracture.

What is a fragility fracture?

Any fracture that occurs from falling from a standing position is considered a fragility fracture. This implies that your bones might be brittle, which requires formal assessment for the presence of osteoporosis.

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