Osteoporosis causes bones to become thin and weak, making them more prone to fractures. It is known as “the silent disease” because there are few symptoms. In severe cases, this disease may lead to osteoporotic fractures, which can be extremely painful and debilitating.

Are you looking for some general information about osteoporosis? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana shares some key things you should know.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis — also called porous bone disease — is a medical condition characterized by low bone density and an increased risk of fracture due to weakened bones, especially in the hip, spine, and wrist area.

There are two types of osteoporosis: primary and secondary.

Primary osteoporosis may be due to an underlying disease such as hyperthyroidism or an imbalance in minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. More often, osteoporosis is related to aging. In people with secondary osteoporosis, the symptoms may be caused by anything from lack of vitamin D or Rheumatoid arthritis.

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?

According to recent estimates, approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, while another 34 million are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at risk of developing the disease.

As any endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana, will tell you, this condition may strike people of any age. However, it’s most common in postmenopausal women and men over 50. Certain ethnic groups also are at higher risk — Caucasians and Asians have a greater chance of developing the disease.

What causes osteoporosis?

The exact cause of osteoporosis is not known. However, we do know that anyone who does not get enough calcium or vitamin D in their diet, who has smoked for many years or who carries the gene for Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) is at an increased risk. People with a family history of osteoporosis may also be more susceptible to developing it.

Steroid medications may reduce the amount of calcium in the body over time, which leads to osteoporosis. Examples of these medications include glucocorticoids such as prednisone for asthma or arthritis and topical treatments for skin conditions like eczema.

In addition, surgery may increase a person’s risk of developing this condition because these types of procedures require general anesthesia, which temporarily changes the chemistry in the body.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis symptoms include achiness, muscle cramps, arthritis and joint pain. It may take time to diagnose someone living with osteoporosis because the symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses. If you notice any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

An endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana will typically diagnose osteoporosis by assessing medical history, performing a physical exam and reviewing X-rays. He or she will assess your weight, whether you smoke, how much vitamin D you get and how often you exercise. They may also test the mineral content of your bones with a bone density scan (DEXA or DXA), which takes detailed images of bone density throughout your body.

Your endocrinologist may also order a CT scan if he or she suspects broken bones in your back or spine that may not be causing pain.

Can osteoporosis be prevented?

Osteoporosis cannot be prevented. However, you can take proactive steps to slow its progression and reduce your risk for osteoporotic fractures. These include:

  • Get the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D from food and supplements. 
  • Strengthen your bones with weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, hiking, running, stair climbing or jumping rope.
  • Talk with your endocrinologist about medications that might help prevent bone loss or help slow its progression.

Looking for an Affordable Endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana?

Are you currently dealing with osteoporosis, or suspect that you might be dealing with the condition? If so, and if you’re looking to visit an affordable endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana, look no further than the specialists at 219 Health Network. We have licensed endocrinologists on staff who specialize in treating endocrine disorders such as osteoporosis. Regardless of your medical situation, we can help you get on the right track.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.