<p>Dr. Al-Ashkar is a staff physician who specializes in treating rheumatic and immunologic disease at a satellite branch of the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic Lorain Family Health and Surgery Center. Where she practices in Rheumatologic diseases, Metabolic Bone Diseases/ Osteoporosis.</p> <p>Dr. Al-Ashkar is a... more
Low bone density has been reported to affect 44 million women and men age 50 and older in the United States and is reported to be on the rise. With increasing awareness in the media, more women and men are gaining interest in learning about osteoporosis prevention and bone health.
Osteoporosis is the Silent Disease of Terrific Consequences. It is characterized by low bone density and deterioration in the structure of the bone tissue that lead to bone fragility and fractures (bones breaking).
Osteoporosis leads to no pain until a fracture occurs. Fractures may lead to health deterioration. These fractures may be caused from little trauma or injury, such as falling from a standing height, bumping into furniture, lifting objects, etc.
I have listed some of the factors reported to increase one's risk for Osteoporosis and fracture:
- Advanced age
- Low bone mass
- Family history of osteoporosis/ fragility fracture
- Under weight
- Fracture of bone after age 50
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Low lifetime calcium intake and Vitamin D deficiency
- No exercise
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Certain medications (corticosteroids and others)
The diagnosis of osteoporosis is possible by a Bone Mineral density test (BMD) and by assessing certain risk factors. Your HCP can prescribe this test for you.
BMD testing is recommended for:
- All women 65 years and older
- Younger postmenopausal women with one or more risk factors
- Patients who present with fragility fractures (to confirm the diagnosis and determine disease severity).
- Men above age 70 years
- Other medical conditions
The best prevention of fracture is optimal bone health and fall precaution.
Fall precaution includes adequate exercise and muscle strengthening, improving balance with walking, removing obstacles in the living area that may be potential for fall or tripping.
Bone health recommendations include weight bearing exercise, insuring the recommended calcium and vitamin D intake, avoiding smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine intake.
Osteoporosis medications may be prescribed by a health care provider (HCP) when indicated.
I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of early detection of osteoporosis (before a fracture occurs) and the importance of preventive care to a path for healthier bones. Osteoporosis treatment and prevention of fractures are possible with appropriate medications and management approach.
With best wishes of good health to all,
Fey Al-Ashkar, MD