OSTEOPOROSIS AND BONE DENSITOMETRY
DRINKING MILK IS NOT ENOUGH FOR STRONG BONES
By: Leonid Sorkin MD, FACOG
Osteoporosis is the fancy medical term for weak bones. A person’s maximal bone strength occurs at age 30. As we age past 30, bones start loosing their strength. In women the loose is very slow but starts weakening rapidly during menopause, which on average starts at age 50. Why? Because bones are supported by Estrogen and during menopause the ovaries stop releasing Estrogen.
So what you may say? Weak bones do not cause any symptoms. You would be correct, but when bones weaken so much that they break, that’s when the pain begins. The vertebrae or spine bones fracture most often which leads to back pain and pinched nerves. However, hip fractures are the worst. No one wants to be wheelchair bound.
The way I evaluate my patients for bone strength is in my office with a Hologic Bone Densitometry Machine. The unit scans my patients’ bones than calculates a T-SCORE. A T-SCORE above -1 indicates strong bones. A T-SCORE between -1 and -2.4 correlates to Osteopenia, or weaken bones. A T-SCORE of -2.5 and less indicates OSTEOPOROSIS. The lower the T-SCORE the weaker the bones. The weaker the bones the higher the risk for FRACTURE!
Once I diagnose my patient with weak bones, I start them on vitamins, supplement and medication. The specific combination is dependent on the patients T-SCORE, history of fracture, family history of fractures, medical problems and medications. The higher my patients risk for fracture the more aggressive my treatment.
“What can I do to strengthen my bones?”
I have a number of suggestions. FIRST, REMEMBER BONES WEKEN SLOWLY, WHICH IS GREAT BUT THEY STRNGTHEN SLOWLY AS WELL. SO ONCE YOUR BONES BECOME VERY WEAK OR BREAK, IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO STRENGTHEN THEM. MY MESSAGE TO YOU IS START SUPPLEMTS EARLY DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE A FRACTURE.
- LIFESTYLE – stop smoking, reduce alcohol and increase weight-bearing exercise (hiking, climbing stairs, jogging, light weights)
- CALCIUM – 1200mgs are recommended daily through a combination of foods (milk, cheese…) and supplements. I tell my patients that Calcium is the break that bones use to build up. More brinks, stronger wall.
- VITAMIN D – 800 units are recommended daily. SUNLIGHT IS A GREAT SOURCE. Vitamin D helps your body absorb Calcium from your intestines. The more Calcium that is absorbed the more your bones can use to build themselves up.
- MEDICATIONS – If my patient has severe Osteoporosis I also add Evista, Atelvia, or Prolia. Which one is the best? There are all-great. My decision depends on many factors.
BE AWARE AND TAKE CARE of your health