Bone Densitometry
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What You Should Know And What You Can To Reduce Your Chances Of Getting It


I am going to tell you what osteoporosis bone disease is and the causes of it. You will learn about a state of the art bone density test we have available in our office which detects osteoporosis. You will also learn about some preventive measures that combat osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis....the silent opponent

Women age 50 and older comprise 17% of the total population of any country in the modern western world. These women can expect to live one third of their lives in a potential hormonal deficiency state and are greatly at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes approximately 1.2 million bone fractures each year. Tragically, as many as one quarter of those who sustain a hip fracture die within one year. The best treatment for osteoporosis is prevention.

What is osteoporosis?

Often called the "brittle bone disease", osteoporosis is the softening and thinning of the bone that results in loss of bone tissue and an increased risk of bone fractures. This disease is characterized when bone minerals (calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus) are gradually lost from the inner cavity of the bone, weakening it significantly and creating vulnerability to bone fractures.

Many women feel that osteoporosis won't affect them since they exercise, watch their diet, get enough calcium, and have no symptoms. But osteoporosis is a "silent" disease whereby women may have it for years and not find out about it until they break a bone.

20 million American women have osteoporosis

Approximately 20 million older Americans, 80% of whom are women, are at risk or already suffer from osteoporosis. It is estimated that nearly one third of all American women will develop osteoporosis severe enough to cause a fracture during their lifetime.

Each year 250,000 women will fracture their hip and as many as one quarter of those who sustain a hip fracture die within one year. Thousands will fracture their wrist requiring casts and surgery. 500,000 vertebral (back bone) fractures occur annually causing back pain, shorter height, and curvature of the spine.

You may be at risk of having osteoporosis if you are past menopause

Bone mass begins to decline at 35 years of age in women and then accelerates declining quickly for the next eight to ten years around the time of menopause. The reason so many women get the disease is that hormonal changes during menopause can lead to severe bone loss. If untreated, women have a one in two chance during their lifetime of breaking a deteriorated bone caused by osteoporosis. Comparing those odds to the one in eight chance that females have in developing breast cancer, there is an urgency to detect this life threatening disease.

Other causes of osteoporosis
Other factors that may add to the risk of osteoporosis include:
Female Gender
Surgical or natural menopause before age 40
Women past the menopause who are not currently taking hormone replacement therapy
Thin, small build
A previous broken bone that might have been the result of osteoporosis
Not getting enough calcium or didn't as a child
Calorie restrictive diets without proper vitamin and mineral supplementation
Not getting a great deal of exercise
  Drinking too much alcohol
  A family history of osteoporosis
  Being Caucasian or Asian
  Patients who have taken certain medications including glucorticoid steroids (commonly used to treat asthma and arthritis), thyroid hormone (if the dose is too high), and anticonvulsants
  Anorexia nervosa
Remember: Menopause is the single most important cause of osteoporosis. Even if none of these factors apply to you, you may still have or develop osteoporosis.

The Bone Density Machine

Our office has a machine that enables us to measure your bone density. This is the only way you can know whether or not you are susceptible to a low calcium deficiency and how your bones are time to prevent a fracture. This machine is called a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) and allows my technician to determine your bone density measurements by generating a narrowly focused x-ray beam across your wrist. You sit comfortably on a chair in our office during this simple, painless procedure that takes about 7 minutes. The x-ray beam emits as little radiation as a dental x-ray.

The machine prints out your bone density results in color. At the conclusion of the test, you will be given an interpretation of your results.

It is particularly helpful to know the density of your bones well in advance of a deteriorating state so that you can focus on healthy bone maintenance.

Insurance Coverage

Most insurance companies reimburse for this procedure. Multiple medical health plans are accepted (call the office for a current, complete list).

Prevention...the all natural way

Today, more than ever, women are wanting natural products for themeselves and their families. The foods they eat, the lifestyles they enjoy, and the way they look indicate an increased desire to consume and use all natural products to promote good health. Dietary discipline and all natural vitamins and minerlas are part of the move in that direction. Preventive care in osteoporosis is the best treatment and may be achieved through dietary control and supplemental vitamins and minerals.

In order for you to reduce your chances of getting osteoporosis, the following are some guidelines for you to adhere to during your lifetime. In my office, we have available to our patients a series of all-natural, high quality vitamins and minerals including calcium and vitamin D.

  1. Adhere to a calcium enriched diet and disciplined diet. The appropriate diet consists of at least 1000 milligrams of calcium per day from food, supplements, or a combination of the two. If a woman has reached the age of the menopause, her intake should increase up to 1500 milligrams per day. However, the average American woman 45 years of age typically takes only 450 milligrams of calcium daily. Foods such as milk, cheeses, (hard cheeses have more calcium than do soft cheeses), leafy green vegetables sardines, red salmon, and nuts are a rich source of calcium.

  2. Calcium Supplements. If a woman cannot reach the amount of calcium needed through her diet, calcium supplements are important . There are numerous calcium supplements on the market, so choosing the product that is most effective is imperative. New research shows that the nutrient boron may play a key role in the retention of calcium. This is highly significant because most of the supplemental calcium that is taken is wasted through urine. A recent study by the U.S Department of Agriculture showed that within eight days of supplementing 3 mg. of boron to a group of post menopausal women, all retained much greater percentages of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus (the main minerals of comprising bone) that normally would have been wasted through urine. Boron has also been recognized as increasing and protecting the estrogen levels in menopausal women. Fruits and vegetables are rich in boron, particularly pears, apples, raisins, grapes, dates, peaches, nuts, honey, legumes, and leafy vegetables. We have boron enriched calcium capsules in our office available for purchase.

  3. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential component of a woman's diet in combating osteoporosis. All American women should have 400 international units of vitamin D per day from food, supplements, or the combination of the two. A distinguished researcher at the University of California at San Diego says that older women who skimp on foods rich in vitamin D are more likely to develop breast cancer. This researcher also finds that dietary vitamin D wards off post menopausal cancer in women over 50 but not who get cancer at younger ages. The best sources of Vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, eel, mackerel, herring, tuna, and vitamin D fortified milk. We have available in our office an all purpose multimineral-multivitamin called Mini One Daily which contains 400 I.U. of vitamin D and is taken once daily.
  4. Exercise regularly. Exercises that stress your bones and muscles (like walking, jogging, or lifting weight) can help strengthen bones. Strong muscles can reduce your chance of falling.

  5. Abstaining from smoking. If you smoke, stop! If you don't smoke, don't start. Smoking weakens bones and is bad for your heart and lungs.

  6. Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol can slow down bone building.

  7. Estrogen replacement therapy. Osteoporosis results from calcium deficiency. The body's absorption of calcium, essential for healthy bones and joints, requires the female hormone estrogen. After the menopause, the production of estrogen decreases or ceases altogether. It is well established that accelerated bone loss occurs in association with estrogen deprivation. The reduction in estrogen also helps explain the increased frequency of bone fractures in women. Taking estrogen prevents the rapid bone loss that happens at menopause, taking estrogen can help prevent bone fractures.

Reduce your chances of getting osteoporosis by scheduling a bone density test

The acquisition of a DEXA Bone Density machine has been exciting to our office as we are now able to provide you with the only known way to find out the status of your bones. This simple, harmless test can help prevent through early detection, the debilitating process of osteoporosis. Our office is one of only a few practices in Houston that has this innovative bone density machine.

We look forward to your next office visit

It it has been a year since your last pap smear, if you feel you may be at risk for osteoporosis, or if you would simply like to know the current status of your bones, call our office today at (713) 827-1500 to make an appointment to schedule the bone density test.

Sincerely Yours,
Pat Solis, M.D.

P.S. We look forward to seeing you on your next office visit and we would be delighted to offer our Bone Density services to any of your family, friends, and co-workers.


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(713) 827-1500
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