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Dr Wilbur Kuo

Health Topic: Osteoporosis


by Dr. Wilbur Kuo, MD
March 13, 2016


What is osteoporosis?
- Our bones are always remodeling
- They are getting built up and broken down
- Over time the bone will get weaker and thinner
- The bones can eventually break from just a mild injury, such as a fall

Osteoporosis causes 1.5 millions fractures/year in the United States
- 700,000 of the spine
- 300,000 of the hip
- 250,000 of the wrist

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis?
- menopause, due to loss of estrogen
- smoking
- chronic steroid use, certain seizure medications, heparin therapy
- low weight, < 125 lbs
- more than 3 alcoholic drinks/day
- early menopause
- malnutrition
- chronic liver disease
- diabetes
- untreated hyperthyroid
- hyperparathyroid

Who should get tested for osteoporosis and how?
- men older than 70 yo
- men older than 50 with multiple risk factors
- postmenopausal women
- persons over > 50 who break a bone
- get checked every 2 years
- bone-density test, or DXA
* often done in radiology office
* lie on a table and the machine uses X-rays to scan hip and spine
* takes 5-10 minutes

How do I interpret a DXA scan?
- results are reported as a t-score
- this a statistical comparison of your bone strength with those of an average young person with healthy bones
- a t-score of -1 and over is normal
- a t-score of -1.1 to -2.4 is osteopenia, implying some mild weakness
- a t-score of less than -2.5 is osteoporosis
- you can use an online tool developed by the WHO to calculate your 1-year likelihood of a fracture at www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX

More later...
Also check out nof.org/ which is the national osteoporosis foundation

As always, consult your physician before diagnosing yourself or starting a new treatment



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