Osteoporosis is a disease that results in weakened bones due to the body losing too much bone, making too little bone, or both. Bones break, or fracture, more easily from a fall or, in serious cases, spontaneously or from minor injuries.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease. There are usually no symptoms in the beginning stages of bone loss. The first symptom is usually a fracture. Other symptoms may include:
- Height loss
- Back pain, possibly resulting from collapsed vertebra
- Posture changes such as rounded shoulders or hunched over
- Low calcium or Vitamin D
What Causes Osteoporosis?
As we age, our process of bone remodeling slows down. During bone remodeling, calcium from your bones breaks down to give your body what it needs, and then proceeds to build new bone mass to replace what your body lost.
Treatment for Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a treatable condition. We can prescribe medications that can stop bone loss, and with certain medications, build bone back. These medications require close monitoring but are usually well-tolerated.
Individuals with risk factors for osteoporosis should supplement with calcium and Vitamin D daily: 1200 mg of calcium and 2000 units of Vitamin D. Low-to-moderate impact exercise, like walking, 3-4 times a week is important for bone strength as well.
Learn More About Osteoporosis
Frequently Asked Questions
How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
Osteoporosis is typically found when a patient has fractured a bone because there are no apparent symptoms. Treatment of the fracture will result in the discovery of osteoporosis, which is when a rheumatologist steps in to help. Fractures in the spine, hip, and wrist are the most common areas. The only minor symptom a person with osteoporosis would have is noticeable height loss. Fortunately, there is an easier way of finding out if a patient has osteoporosis.
A bone mineral density (BMD) test called a DEXA scan is done when an individual has risk factors for osteoporosis. The score given by the scan will determine if the patient has osteoporosis or low bone density. Osteopenia and osteoporosis can also be found on Xray and MRI imaging.
Who is Most At-Risk of Getting Osteoporosis?
Women who have gone through menopause are more likely to develop this disease as estrogen protects the bones. Osteoporosis can be a side effect of some medications. However, there are numerous risk factors for osteoporosis, such as:
- Alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders and weight-loss surgeries
- Low levels of vitamin D/calcium
- Advancing age
- Small bone structure, low body weight, and thin frame
- Caucasian race
Dr. Tamar Brionez
About Our Doctor
Dr. Brionez has more than 10 years of experience in diagnosing and treating rheumatic musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University and completed her Doctor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, she completed her Fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of Texas-Health Science Center. Dr. Brionez is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and has been in private practice since 2009.
Dr. Brionez is known for her dedication to her patients and her ability to diagnose complex conditions. She adheres to the highest standards of medical care while relying on cutting-edge technology and the most up-to-date medical research. Dr. Brionez has adopted a holistic view of her patients’ health and is considered a leading specialist in managing complex autoimmune disorders including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, osteoporosis, and many others. She is fluent in Spanish and is dedicated to hiring diverse staff to best meet her patients’ needs.