Bone Up On Osteoporosis

Bone Up On Osteoporosis

While you may not give much thought to the health of your bones, you should. That’s because 1 in 2 women and up to 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Known as the “silent disease,” osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. This causes bones to become weak and more brittle, and many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone. Osteopenia, which may increase the risk for developing osteoporosis, refers to having low bone density when compared to others of the same age.

Risk factors for osteoporosis and osteopenia include:

  • Calcium/vitamin D3 deficiency
  • Taking certain medications that can accelerate bone loss
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Family history of these conditions
  • History of a broken bone after age 50
  • Having certain medical conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

“People with osteoporosis typically break bones in their hip, spine and wrist,” said Andrea DeWeerdt, a certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-C) specializing in bone health management and fracture prevention at Lakeshore Health Partners Osteoporosis Services. “Osteoporotic bone fracture can happen from a fall, or in serious cases, from something as minor as lifting, bumping into furniture, coughing or sneezing.”

Giving Your Bones TLC

Understanding what you can do to protect the health of your bones is a great first step toward preventing or managing osteoporosis.

  • Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes or drink too much alcohol.
  • Talk to your primary care doctor about your risk for osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test.
  • Take osteoporosis medication if it’s right for you.

The Score on Your T-Score

Also known as a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test, a bone density test uses x-ray to measure the amount of calcium and minerals in your bones. Quick and painless, this test is one of the best ways to diagnose osteoporosis or osteopenia before a bone breaks. Here’s who the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends schedule a bone density test.

Bone density test results are reported using a T-score. “A T-score shows how much your bone density is higher or lower than the bone density of a healthy 30-year-old adult,” DeWeerdt said. “The lower your score, the lower your bone density, and the greater the potential for osteoporosis or weak bones.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density
  • A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density or osteopenia
  • A T-score of -2.5 or below is a diagnosis of osteoporosis

Be Bone Strong

If you’ve already been diagnosed or are at risk for osteoporosis, Lakeshore Health Partners Osteoporosis Services is here to ensure your continued quality of life. Our team, which includes Andrea DeWeerdt and Laura Norder, NP-C, can help you understand your current bone health, take steps to improve your condition and limit your potential for future fracture.

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  • Andrea J. DeWeerdt, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP-C

    Andrea J. DeWeerdt, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP-C

    Andrea DeWeerdt is a Certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in bone health management and fracture prevention at Lakeshore Health Partners - Osteoporosis Services. For an appointment with Andrea, call (616) 393-5336.

    In addition to her special interest in osteoporosis care Andrea is passionate about the health and well-being of the under-served in our community. She considers it a privilege to volunteer at City on a Hill Clinic as well as connect with individuals and families at Holland Rescue Mission and Love INC. Andrea enjoys playing piano, traveling, reading and outdoor adventures with her husband and three boys.

    Andrea J. DeWeerdt, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP-C

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