Osteoporosis is characterized by a weakness of bone structure and low bone mass resulting in an increased risk of bone fracture. Though it can affect any bone, the most common areas prone to fracture are the hips, spine and wrists.
Osteoporotic fractures are a major cause of disability and a major contributor to medical care costs in many regions of the world. Hip fractures are a serious problem and carry with them a high risk of chronic pain, loss of ability to function and even a high rate of mortality from associated complications.
The Physicians at GCSP are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis risk factors include a family history of the disease, female gender, menopause, low testosterone levels, having a thin frame, advancing age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption, smoking, low calcium diet, low Vitamin D, and lack of exercise.
Certain medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and overactive parathyroid glands can contribute to bone loss. Several medications including steroids and some medications prescribed for seizures, breast cancer, diabetes, heartburn, or depression can also cause bone loss.
Many patients are classified as having a low bone density, or osteopenia, which can still increase the risk for fractures and progress to osteoporosis so it will require careful monitoring as well as appropriate treatment to minimize further bone loss.
Women should always inform their physician or DEXA technologist, prior to the test, if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.
Once a patient is determined to have a low bone mineral density, our Rheumatologists perform a thorough history and examination along with a complete laboratory work-up to assess for any secondary causes. Risk assessment tools are used which integrate clinical risk factors and DEXA scanning to assess the probability of fracture.