National Osteoporosis Month

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, people are encouraged to understand the risk factors associated with this condition. Preventative measures which promote healthy bones include sufficient calcium intake, achieving adequate levels of vitamin D, and performing bone healthy exercises. The aim of National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month is to promote good bone health through the prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men; approximately 80% of osteoporosis cases are in women. Women are often the main focus of these awareness campaigns as are people with a family history of osteoporosis. Teenage girls are encouraged to build strong bones while they are still developing. The consequences of weak bones later in life can be serious. Building strong bones during this crucial development stage includes eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D, eating fruits and vegetables every day, and regular exercise. During early to mid adult life (20’s, 30’s and 40’s), women are encouraged to learn about preventing osteoporosis.

If you are concerned about your likelihood of osteoporosis, head to your nearest clinician to receive a DEXA scan. A DEXA scan stands for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, which can help doctors properly diagnose if you have the disease or not by measuring your bone density. On top of a bone density scan, doctors can determine the probability of developing osteogenesis by calculating factors such as age, gender and any other previous injuries you have sustained.

For seniors who are older than 50, exercise can sometimes be difficult. Instead of strenuous activities such as running or lifting weights that can bear great stress upon your bones and joints, try out swimming or cycling instead, which are low-impact exercises that also are tremendous for your cardiovascular health. The ultimate source of treatment is consulting with your doctor to see if there is a right prescription medication for you. Prescribed drugs such as bisphosphonates can vastly slow down the bone breakdown process, allowing time for proper calcium and vitamin D dosages to increase and help treat the bones.

In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, the primary outcome investigated in pharmaceutical trials is the reduction of fracture. Risk reductions of between 30-70 % have been demonstrated for vertebral fractures, around 15-20 % for non-vertebral fractures and up to 40% for hip fracture. However, of the currently approved treatments, only alendronate, risedronate, zoledronic acid and strontium ranelate have been shown to reduce vertebral, non-vertebral and hip fractures. In men and in glucocorticoid-treated populations, regulatory approval has been obtained on the basis of bridging studies in which similar BMD changes to those seen in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis have been demonstrated.

Treatment options can only work if taken as recommended. It’s common for people with osteoporosis to find taking medication challenging. As a result, up to half of all people stop their treatment after only one year. As with any medication, there are risks and side effects involved with osteoporosis treatments This May, make a difference not only for your own health, but for someone you know, and make sure to spread awareness about how to fight back against osteoporosis.

Celeste Botonakis

On the Nursing Assistant Guides blog, certified medical assistant Celeste Botonakis explores the daily life of a CMA. She'll keep you up-to-date with the latest on what’s happening in the field, and provides tips for those who are interested in becoming a medical or nursing assistant. Celeste has served in the medical field for over six years, and is passionate about helping people. She currently works at CSR Primary Care in Skokie, Illinois. Click here to learn more about Celeste Botonakis and