January 19, 2021 by Carol Higgins
Bone Health Update: Treating, Preventing Osteoporosis (Video)
Osteoporosis is increasingly being diagnosed in Americans over 50, fueled in large part by the millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age every year. But there are basic and effective steps individuals can take to prevent or treat this disease, which weakens bones and is a major cause of devastating falls among older adults.
Last month in a blog post, Nathalie Regalado, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, covered common signs and risk factors of osteoporosis and osteopenia, the condition that precedes it. In this post, Dr. Regalado reviews common treatments for osteoporosis patients that can also help prevent the disease from spreading in healthier people. May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month.
The common components to effectively treating osteoporosis include a healthy diet, fall prevention counseling, addressing the patient’s functional status, strengthening exercises and medication.
(Video: The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Nathalie Regalado, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, about treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Video by George Carvalho and Alcyene Almeida Rodrigues)
“We want to make sure the patient is fit and can walk safely,” says Dr. Regalado. “Do they need a cane or other assistance device to prevent falls, which is a big concern?” She says doctors usually work with family members of osteoporosis patients to make sure there are no falling hazards within the home to prevent accidents which can cause serious bone fractures.
If a patient is able to exercise, then performing regular weight-resistance exercises, even with light weights, can be extremely beneficial. This applies to older adults looking to prevent loss of bone density. “There’s data to support that weight-lifting is beneficial — and it doesn’t have to be a lot of weight, but some form of resistance.”
Proper nutrition fortified with vitamin D is a must, Dr. Regalado says. Vitamin D helps the body absorb, retain and use calcium – one of bone’s main building blocks. Vitamin D deficiency also has been associated with increased risk of autoimmune diseases, hypertension, infectious diseases and muscle weakness. Steroid medications, which represent a risk factor for osteoporosis, have a major impact on the metabolism of calcium and vitamin D.
“We want to make sure that anyone with or at risk of osteoporosis is on a good diet with calcium and vitamin D. We know that vitamin D is good for elderly patients, even those without osteoporosis, because it strengthens bones and helps prevent falls.”
Common Risk Factors for Osteoporosis:
- Femal gender
- Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hemochromatosis (excess iron)
- Steroid medications
Free Osteoporosis Heel Scan
Take charge of your bone health with a free osteoporosis heel scan. It’s a quick, painless test to measure your risk of low bone mass. You’re a candidate if you:
• Are a woman over age 30 or a man over age 50.
• Have a family history of osteoporosis or osteopenia.
• Have certain diseases or take certain medications (see website for details).
• Live an inactive lifestyle.
• Are small or thin.
• Have an unhealthy diet.
Offer valid at selected Baptist Health Medical Plazas in Miami-Dade and Broward. To make a same-day appointment or for more information, call 786-573-6000, email Screenings@BaptistHealth.net or visit BaptistHealth.net/OsteoScreening.