If you’re past menopause, you are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Your gynecologist at Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, PC, can monitor and treat osteoporosis to minimize the effects on your daily living. We have four convenient locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Bartlett, Tennessee, as well as Southaven, Mississippi. Call the office or request an appointment online today.
Though bones seem strong and permanent, they are made up of living tissue that’s renewed and replaced constantly. Osteoporosis results when the rate of renewal falls behind the rate of loss. Even though bones usually seem solid, there are tiny pockets of air.
A cross-section of bone often looks much like a cross-section of sponge toffee. When affected by osteoporosis, these air pockets become larger, with sections that have voids, reducing a bone’s strength and ability to bear weight. However, the development of these voids begins with no recognizable symptoms.
Bone mass peaks for most people when they’re in their 20s. After that, it’s normal for bone density to decrease but factors combine to accelerate the loss of bone mass for some people. Women are more at risk, as are older people in general. People with smaller frames tend to suffer more from loss of bone mass since they had less bone to begin with.
Hormonal factors also contribute to the rate of bone loss. Both women and men experience greater bone loss as their primary sex hormone production falls. However, this effect is more pronounced in women after menopause with the decrease in estrogen. Overactive thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands may also cause increased rates of bone loss.
Calcium intake is also crucial to the bone renewal rate. Chronically low amounts of dietary calcium may inhibit the development of new bone. Bariatric surgery for weight loss or other surgery of the gastrointestinal system may also affect how much calcium your body absorbs.
Since osteoporosis has few symptoms before structural failure, if you’re at risk of bone density loss, your MOGA physician may use an imaging process called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, to measure bone loss and diagnose osteoporosis.
A form of enhanced X-ray technology, DEXA is most often used on the bones of the hip or lower spine. As with typical X-rays, DEXA is non-invasive, and images are formed using small amounts of ionizing radiation. There’s little to do to prepare other than to stop taking calcium supplements 24 hours before your DEXA appointment.