The Dangers of Osteoporosis

Around 54 million adults over the age of 50 in the United States have low bone mass and more than 10 million in this group have osteoporosis. Thanks to an aging population, the numbers of people with low bone mass are expected to rise to more than 71 million by 2030. Unfortunately, with these growing numbers comes a growing risk for osteoporosis-related complications, namely fractures.

At our practice, Dr. Timothy Wilson and our team are prepared to handle the orthopedic problems that stem from osteoporosis, especially when it comes to your all-important shoulders and knees.

Osteoporosis 101

Before we dive into the complications of osteoporosis, let’s take a quick look at how this bone loss occurs.

There are many factors that lead to osteoporosis, some of which you have no control over. For example, as we mentioned, some bone loss is inevitable as you age and your bone remodeling and regeneration processes begin to decline.

Outside of aging, gender and hormones also play significant roles in bone loss. Both men and women produce sex hormones that influence many areas that fall outside of reproduction, including bone mass. While both genders lose these hormones with age, women’s reproductive hormone levels, namely estrogen and progesterone, fall drastically when they pass through menopause, which is why women are far more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Another risk factor that’s out of your control is your race — white people and Asians are more likely to develop osteoporosis than other ethnic groups.

When it comes to risk factors that you can control, diet (not enough calcium), sedentary lifestyle, and certain habits (excessive drinking or tobacco use) lead the charge.

Fractures

The primary threat when dealing with osteoporosis is fractures. Most of the osteoporosis-related fractures occur in the spine and in the hips, but loss of density affects all of the bones in your body, which means that no bone is immune.

Whether it’s a clavicle (shoulder blade) or a patella (kneecap), all of the bones in your body are weaker and, therefore, more prone to breaking.

One of the biggest complications when it comes to fractures in older people is that the bones don’t remodel as they used to, so expert fracture care is imperative.

Fracture care

Here at our practice, we offer comprehensive fracture care for adults of all ages, but we pay close attention when there’s evidence of bone loss or osteoporosis. Using external and/or internal fixation techniques, we can help bring your bone back together and hold it in place long enough for your body to heal correctly. Of course, with internal fixation, you may gain some new permanent hardware inside your body.

In some cases, we may not need to resort to fixation, especially if the break appears to be clean. In these cases, we ensure that the bone is properly aligned and then we immobilize the area to allow time for your body to heal.

Preventing fractures when you have osteoporosis

If you know your bones are losing density, we urge to take preventive steps to avoid fractures, such as:

Each of these preventive measures is designed to strengthen your bones so that they’re at less risk of breaking.

If you want to learn more about the dangers of osteoporosis, please contact our office in Lexington, Kentucky, to set up a consultation.





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