The importance of screening and supplementing precisely.
This is the first quote found on my search regarding the important topic of Osteoporosis:
“Since the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) first published the Guide in 1999, it has become increasingly clear that many patients are not being given appropriate information about prevention and many patients are not receiving appropriate testing to diagnose osteoporosis or establish osteoporosis risk”
-Aug 15, 2014
The office of the General Surgeon US already warned us in 2004,  yet it is still true today. Preventative measures and educational resources on osteoporosis are scarce and certainly not always taking advantage of in our very busy practices where time is of the essence.
Osteoporosis, however is one the most common disease affecting both women and men. It is a silent disease until complicated by fractures. According to the clinical guidelines of the National Osteoporosis foundation ONE out of EVERY 2 WOMEN and ONE out of EVERY 5 MEN in the US will suffer from an osteoporosis related fracture during their lifetime.
Such fractures are associated with a significant increase in both morbidity and mortality. The incidence of fractures in women is greater than the incidence of breast cancer, stroke and heart attacks combined.
Age, gender and genetics have a definite role and will increase your risk factors. Women also in menopause have the strongest risk factor for developing osteoporosis due to the decrease in their sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone levels. Some medical conditions that require necessary drugs may also impact bone density such as chronic steroid use. Other risk factors may also negatively impact the health of your bones like smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, poor diet and lack of exercise. The latter however are modifiable risks and should be discussed with your healthcare provider to facilitate screening and decrease your chances of developing such a burden.
So we can modify or alleviate these risks by being tested regularly and incorporate some lifestyle changes.
- Walk everyday and lift some light weights unless contraindicated.
- Eat a healthy diet with less processed foods
- Get a bone mineral density (every two years) by the age or 50. Testing should start earlier if you either had increased risk factors or premature menopause (naturally or surgically if you underwent a hysterectomy with the removal of your ovaries).
- Check your vitamin levels with advances testing such as micronutrient testing to determine the adequate dose or get at least a vitamin D serum level twice a year especially in the winter to supplement accurately and precisely.
- Remember some individuals may require more vitamin D3 intake due to genetic factors, therefore precise dosing and repeated testing are of the essence.
So please, bring up the topic, get tested before you supplement and live a healthy life.
1. National Osteoporosis foundation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176573/
2. Office of the Surgeon General (US) (2004) Bone health and osteoporosis: a report of the Surgeon General. Office of the Surgeon General (US), Rockville (MD). Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45513/. Accessed March 2014 [Ref list]