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Dr. Pauline Camacho, a Loyola endocrinologist, with WJOL radio

Dr. Pauline Camacho, a Loyola bone specialist, says osteoporosis is a generalized skeletal disorder brought on by an imbalance in the rate of bone formation and bone destruction. Many things can lead to osteoporosis: menopause, parathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, calcium disorders, low testosterone levels and alcoholism. About 80 percent of diagnosed osteoporosis cases are found in women.

There are things that you can do to help prevent osteoporosis or slow down its progression, such as drinking milk for calcium, keeping a healthy diet and getting exercise. There really are few symptoms in people who are developing osteoporosis. Usually it's not diagnosed until the patient suffers the first fracture due to the condition.

One sign to watch out for, however, is a loss of height in your 60s. This may be an early warning sign that you are having mini-fractures in the spine. All women at age 65 should have their bone density checked. However, if there is a family history of the disorder, then you should check out your bone density in your 50s.

Dr. Camacho talks about how important vitamin D is for bone health because it helps to absorb calcium. Sunshine is one way to absorb vitamin D, but it's also found in some foods. Loyola has numerous studies about the effects of low vitamin D. She added that people who are overweight do tend to have low vitamin D levels. She explained the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and she touched upon the symptoms of thyroid disorders.

For more questions or to make an appointment, please call 888-LUHS-888 (888-584-7888).

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