Mom Had Osteoporosis – Do I Have It Too?

May 9, 2013 Leave your thoughts

If your Mom had Osteoporosis, you are also at risk for osteoporosis and fractures.  If a parent had a broken hip, you are at increased risk of fracture.  Choosing your parents poorly is a risk factor you cannot avoid.  Your age is the biggest risk factor that you cannot control.  However, you can control other risk factors.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor which is completely controlable.  It is very hard to quit.  Most people need the help of pills or patches.

Falls are also a major risk factor for fractures.  They are avoidable.  You can treat low Vitamin D levels, which are a cause of falls.  Balance and strengthening exercises like Tai-chi can also help a lot over time.

Taking Prednisone may be avoidable.  5 mg or more daily for more than a few weeks increases fracture risk.  Switch to medications without Glucocorticoids if you can.

You can avoid being too fat or too thin.  A BMI over 35 or under 19 carries increased fracture risk.

You cannnot avoid the increased risk of being female.  However, one-quarter of all osteoporosis patients are men.

Hormonal ablation therapy for breast and prostate cancer are also a major risk for bone loss and fractures.  Fortunately, some osteoporosis medications actually help treat the cancer.

If you have already had a fracture, you are at increased risk for another fracture.  Multiple previous fractures are a big deal.  If you are shrinking or have a humpback, you have vertebral fractures and are at high risk.

If you have some of the risk factors listed above, you are at risk for osteoporosis and fractures.  Get a complete bone health evaluation, and take action.  You can take control if you act.

Jay Ginther, MD

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