As we age, our bones are prone to becoming increasingly porous and less dense. When this happens, they become more susceptible to osteoporosis and subsequent fractures. Osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bone,” is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deteriorations of bone tissue. Healthy bone consists of living tissue that is always being “remodeled,” with small amounts being absorbed in your body and small amounts being replaced. Osteoporosis develops when bone is no longer replaced as quickly as it is removed.
Osteoporosis is common in postmenopausal women and in men over age 70. When you suffer from osteoporosis, even a simple fall that would have only resulted in a bruise in an otherwise healthy body can lead to severe bone fractures. This is why it is fairly common to hear of an elderly person breaking a hip or their pelvis after falling at home. Fortunately, osteoporosis is preventable, detectable, and treatable.
At Anchorage Fracture & Orthopedic Clinic, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related conditions. Bone mineral density (BMD) refers to the amount of mineral matter in human bones. Testing your BMD can allow a specialist to determine your risk for osteoporosis and fractures. Bone density testing is typically suggested for women over 65 and men over 70 as well as adults over 50 who have suffered a fracture from a ground level fall. The method used is known as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DXA.
DXA is a painless, noninvasive procedure similar to X-ray imaging. When you undergo a DXA test, the area to be examined is exposed to two types of low-dose radiation (5 – 150 times less than a chest X-ray)—one is absorbed by bones and the other by the body’s soft tissues. The difference between the results of these two numbers gives the bone mineral density.
If your test results indicate that your BMD is lacking and that you have, or are at risk for, osteoporosis, Kenneth C. Thomas, M.D., osteoporosis expert, will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to address these issues.
For more information about our Bone Health Clinic or to schedule an appointment with one of our bone health specialists, click the appointment request button or call 907.563.3145.