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Ask the Expert: New TOSH Clinic for Osteoporosis

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Ask the Expert: New TOSH Clinic for Osteoporosis. (Photo: KUTV)

TOSH – The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray has opened a new clinic for people who are affected by osteoporosis.

The TOSH Healthy Bones Clinic takes a unique approach at diagnosing and treating osteoporosis and osteopenia. It’s led by a nurse practitioner, Rachel Decker, who has special training in osteoporosis and takes a wellness-based approach to the treatment of this disease process. Patients treated in the clinic will be given personalized recommendations on diet, exercise, supplements and medications to help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

Osteoporosis and low bone mass are a major public health threat for almost 44 million American women and men aged 50 and older. This number represents 55 percent of the people aged 50 and older in the United States.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and fragile. Weak and fragile bones are at risk of breaking from a fall, or even something as simple as a cough or rolling over in bed. There are usually no symptoms associated with osteoporosis, unless you have a fracture.

Osteoporosis is called the "silent disease" because bone is lost with no signs. You may not know that you have osteoporosis until a strain, bump, or fall causes a bone to break.

There is no cure for osteoporosis, but it can be treated. You can help keep your bones strong by exercising, getting enough calcium and vitamin D and not smoking. These are important lifelong habits, but it’s never too early (or too late!) to start. Many osteoporosis medicines are also available to help treat osteoporosis and prevent broken bones.

You can find out if you have osteoporosis?or if you’re at risk for the disease by getting a bone mineral density (BMD) test. If you are a woman and have reached menopause, or a man age 50 or older, you should learn about your risk factors for osteoporosis. If you have risk factors, you may need a BMD test. If you are a woman age 65 or older, or a man age 70 or older and have never had a BMD test, you should have one.


RISK FACTORS

Many risk factors can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Some of these things you cannot change and others you can.

Risk factors you cannot change include:

• Gender. Women get osteoporosis more often than men.

• Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.

• Body size. Small, thin women are at greater risk.

• Ethnicity. White and Asian women are at highest risk. Black and Hispanic women have a lower risk.

• Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families. If a family member has osteoporosis or breaks a bone, there is a greater chance that you will too.


WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE NEW TOSH HEALTHY BONES CLINIC

• Thorough history and physical exam by a nurse practitioner that is specific to bone health

• Dietary assessment by a nurse practitioner or registered dietician with dietary recommendations

• Fall-risk assessment, if appropriate

• Establish risk factors for osteoporosis

• Bloodwork, if appropriate

• Ordering of imaging, such as bone mineral density testing or x-rays, if appropriate

• Individualized exercise and activity recommendations

• Medication and supplement recommendations

• Close follow-up with your primary care provider

• Referrals to specialists, if needed

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