Osteoporosis Screening and Treatment in New Jersey
As humans age, it becomes more important to keep up with all recommended health screenings. Regular screenings to detect and monitor osteoporosis, a medical condition in which bones become more brittle and fragile, are recommended for most women starting at age 65. But these screenings are also recommended for anyone younger than 65, including men, who have a family history of osteoporosis. In New Jersey, patients can access screenings and treatments for osteoporosis with Vanguard Medical Group.
What Is Osteoporosis?
As our bodies grow and develop, cells are regularly replaced and renewed. This is true for our bones as well; new bone replaces older bone. However, during our lifespan, there is a reduction in the speed of this process, and the generation of new bone mass doesn’t keep pace. And over time, as this rate of replacement slows, overall bone mass decreases. Depending on how much bone mass remains for each individual, this can result in the bones becoming weaker and more vulnerable to breaks and fractures. While risk factors may vary depending on demographics, screenings for osteoporosis are an important part of routine medical care.
Symptoms of osteoporosis include:
- Bones that break more easily, fractures in wrists, hips, and spine
- Loss of height
- Bending forward/stooped posture
- Back pain, often due to fractured or weakened vertebrae
Men and women of all races and ages can be affected by osteoporosis. However, Caucasian and Asian women are at higher risk, as well as older women who have passed menopause. Family history is also a factor.
Diagnosing and Treating Osteoporosis
Bone density screening is painless and takes little time. The patient lies comfortably on a padded table, and the densitometer scans over their body. A basic scan is performed by using a bone densitometer, which uses X-rays to measure the level of minerals in the bone. This provides a baseline measurement for the patient and their care team and is recommended for all women starting at age 65. If a patient experiences problems, such as fractures or pain, in specific body areas, smaller densitometers, CT scans, ultrasound, and other technologies are utilized for diagnosis and tracking.
The expert care team at Vanguard Medical Group helps patients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Recommended treatments depend on the age of the patient, the stage of bone weakness, and other factors and may include:
Practitioners have several medications available and may prescribe pills that are taken weekly or monthly. Injections are also prescribed for patients with osteoporosis. Targeted at slowing the process of breakdown in the bones and rebuilding bone, medications help reduce the risk of fractures and breaks.
Nutrition and Exercise
Many patients require supplements to aid their nutrition. Patients with osteoporosis need to stay active and are encouraged to take up activities that improve posture, balance, and mobility. Weight-bearing exercise is important, as well, for strengthening bones and reducing the risk of fracture.
Habits such as smoking tobacco or drinking too much alcohol can cause bone loss to accelerate. Reducing and eliminating these habits can help patients retain bone tissue. For example, limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men, or one drink per day for women improves chances for bone health.
Osteoporosis Screening Available in New Jersey
Patients in New Jersey who are at risk for osteoporosis should get regular screenings, including anyone with a family history, and women who are 65 or older. Contact Vanguard Medical Group to request a consultation today.