Here at Cal-EZ, we talk a lot about bone health and diseases of calcium deficiency like osteoporosis, hypoparathyroidism, and gastroparesis. And even though I’m so immersed in this world of calcium, I find some facts very startling. Like this tweet from the National Osteoporosis Society in the UK.
— NOS (@OsteoporosisSoc) March 16, 2015
I hope that we, in the US, are doing a better job at recognizing osteoporosis before it adversely affects us or our loved ones. The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has clearly defined recommendations for osteoporosis screening. The USPSTF recommends screening for osteoporosis in women aged 65 years and older and in younger women whose fracture risk is equal to or greater than that of a 65-year old white women who has no additional risk factors. They do not, however, have enough evidence to recommend screening in men. Other organizations do recommend screening for men, as shown in the table below.
Know the risk factors for osteoporosis
The National Osteoporosis Foundation puts risk factors for osteoporosis into 2 categories: those that we can control and those we can’t control.
Some of the factors we can’t control are
- Age, being over 50
- Being female
- Menopausal or post-menopausal
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Being thin and small
- History of broken bones or loss of height
Things we can control are
- Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D
- Diet: not getting enough fruits and vegetables and getting too much alcohol and caffeine
- Having an inactive lifestyle
Know who to talk to
When you think you may have osteoporosis or poor bone health, you need to talk to a healthcare provider. There is no physician specialty that is dedicated only to the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, according to the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases. Your primary care provider or gynecologist is a great place to start. For other healthcare providers, see this list provided by the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases.
Like any other disease, osteoporosis may be preventable and is definitely treatable. Make sure to get a bone checkup when you go to the doctor to prevent or treat this disease.
Learn more about calcium with our calcium tip sheet!