Osteoporosis Treatment in Northern New Jersey

Doctor using model of spine to describe osteoporosis to patientOsteoporosis is a disease of the bones. During the process of physical growth that occurs throughout the human lifespan, bone mass breaks down and new growth occurs. But as we age, new bone growth doesn’t always keep pace with the breakdown of older bones. The result is weaker bone structure, which can result in broken bones. Posture can also be affected.

The rheumatology department at Bergen Medical Associates can diagnose this condition and recommend osteoporosis treatments. We offer multiple medical specialties for patients throughout northern New Jersey.

What Is Osteoporosis?

When our bone density and mass decrease, it weakens the bones. Osteoporosis causes the spaces between bone mass to increase. In other words, the structure of bone becomes more open. At the same time, the outer walls of the bones thin and become more fragile. Altogether, these changes increase the danger of fractures and breaks.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until a break occurs. The rheumatology practitioners at Bergen Medical Associates recommend regular health screenings that include a bone scan to watch for any signs of osteoporosis.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is more common in people over the age of 50. During the early stages of the disease, most people don’t realize their bones are becoming weaker. However, there are a few signs and symptoms that osteoporosis may be present:

  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Becoming shorter by an inch or more
  • Postural changes, such as bending forward or stooping over
  • Shortness of breath, which may indicate compressed disks in the spine
  • Lower back pain

Because there are often no obvious symptoms of osteoporosis, Bergen Medical Associates strongly recommends that patients schedule regular screening appointments with a medical professional.

What Are the Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?

There are a variety of risk factors related to osteoporosis, which include:

  • Being female, especially Caucasian and Asian women
  • Being over the age of 50
  • Decreased testosterone in men
  • Post-menopause (related to a decrease in estrogen)
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Having a small, naturally thin frame and low body weight
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Some medications, including diuretics, corticosteroids, seizure medicines, anticoagulants, and steroids
  • Hormone treatments for breast or prostate cancer
  • Other health conditions, including gastrointestinal, endocrine, autoimmune, or blood disorders
  • Eating disorders and absence of menstruation for long periods
  • Confinement to bed during convalescence

People who do not get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet are also at risk. Some medications may interfere with calcium absorption, which can also be a factor. Gastric bypass surgery can also affect the body’s ability to process calcium. Those who drink alcohol regularly are at increased risk of osteoporosis, as well. In addition, people who don’t get enough physical and weight-bearing exercise may develop weaker bones and osteoporosis.

How Is Osteoporosis Diagnosed at Bergen Medical Associates?

Bergen Medical Associates offers examinations and testing with rheumatologists, who are medical practitioners specializing in conditions that affect the joints, muscles, and bones. After considering your medical history and performing a physical evaluation, our board-certified physicians may order the following tests:

  • DEXA scan, which measures bone density
  • X-rays
  • Blood and urine tests to eliminate other conditions

Regular bone scans can help your medical practitioner measure any changes to bone density over time. You will lie on a padded table during the noninvasive test.

What Are Treatment Options for Osteoporosis?

If you have been diagnosed with this condition, there are several treatment options, depending on the severity of the disease. Initially, your medical team may recommend lifestyle and diet changes, including supplements. Physical exercise is important and physical therapy may be recommended. At Bergen Medical Associates, you may be referred to our nutrition department for consultation.

If medications are recommended, there are several approaches. The rheumatology team will determine an osteoporosis treatment plan based on the specific needs of each patient. These may include:

  • Bisphosphonates, often prescribed for postmenopausal women
  • Injections, which lessen bone loss and increase density
  • Hormone therapies, including estrogen and testosterone
  • Bone-building medications, which have strong formulas that can be used only for limited periods

Get Help for Osteoporosis at Bergen Medical Associates

If you are concerned about osteoporosis, or need osteoporosis treatments, Bergen Medical Associates offers experienced medical practitioners who specialize in bone diseases. Appointments can be made at any of our convenient office locations in northern New Jersey. Contact us today.