Summary: Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a thinning of the bones. This can result in vertebral compression fractures, deformity (kyphosis) and even death. Osteoporosis and related spine fractures are largely treatable and preventable with medications, calcium intake, and kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty surgery.
Indication: Thinning of the bones, most common in post-menopausal females. This can lead to curvature of the spine, forward-leaning posture and loss of height. Risks are often identified during routine physician visits, or as a result of spinal fracture, which results in a sudden onset of sharp pain at the site of the fracture.
Consultation: Risk is evaluated through medical history and physical exam. Diagnosis is typically confirmed with bone density testing and a dual energy X-ray absorption (DEXA) scan.
The DEXA scan is performed by passing low energy X-rays through a bone (e.g. spine, hip or wrist). The test takes about ten minutes, is painless, and is associated with very limited radiation exposure.
Treatment: Education regarding the appropriate calcium and Vitamin D intake, as well as overall nutrition. As appropriate, exercise is recommended to help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of falls.