Osteoporosis diagram illustrating bone decay.

National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month: Love Your Bones & Keep Them Healthy

May 3, 2018

Loyola Medicine endocrinologist Rod Marianne Arceo-Mendoza, MDBy Rod Marianne Arceo-Mendoza, MD

Osteoporosis, a bone disease causing bones to become weak and more likely to break, affects 10 million Americans with another 44 million Americans at serious risk due to low bone mass.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that one in two women and up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. In a way, osteoporosis is a silent disease, only revealing itself after you break a bone.

How can you avoid joining the 10 million current Americans suffering from osteoporosis?

We'll share some prevention tips, information about screenings, and more to help you take care of your bones.

There is no secret or complicated strategy to keep your bones healthy, it boils down to two essential tips. The first is getting the recommended daily amount of calcium and vitamin D, with the second being regular exercise and good nutrition.

1,200 milligrams is the recommended daily calcium intake, with 800 international units of vitamin D being recommended on a daily basis. Other aspects of an individual's lifestyle may play a part in keeping your bones healthy. These other aspects include avoiding heavy alcohol use and not smoking.

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, all post-menopausal women and any women over the age of 65 should get screened for osteoporosis. Any individuals who have a history of bone fractures without major trauma, brittle bones, anyone on steroid treatment or who have low body weight, and women with a family history of osteoporosis are recommended to get screened.

The best screening for osteoporosis is what experts call a "DXA" test. The DXA test, short for dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, is a special kind of x-ray that will help your doctor determine bone density.

Completing a fracture risk assessment is another screening your doctor can perform. It involves covering your and family's health history, physical examination, and standard biochemical testing combined with the results from your bone density test.

The ultimate goal of any osteoporosis treatment is to restore the balance of bone formation and resorption, while avoiding any future bone fractures.

The first step in osteoporosis prevention and treatment is to go see your doctor. Talk with them about other prevention techniques or screenings available to keep your bones healthy.

Seeing an endocrinologist or other osteoporosis specialists may be necessary for those who are suffering from severe osteoporosis, have sustained a major fracture with very little to no trauma, or if you've experience consistent fractures while being treated for osteoporosis.

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, take steps to keep your bones healthy while showing them some love.

Rod Marianne Arceo-Mendoza, MD, is an endocrinologist at Loyola Medicine. Her clinical interests include bone diseases, calcium disorders, endocrine disorders, osteoporosis, thyroid and parathyroid disease and disorders, thyroid cancer, and vitamin D deficiency.

Dr. Arceo-Mendoza earned her medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. She completed a residency in internal medicine at Geisinger Medical Center and a fellowship in endocrinology at Loyola University Medical Center.