Osteoporosis is called "the silent disease"-- it rarely has symptoms until
a fracture results. As a result, most patients go undiagnosed until they have
advanced disease. Advanced osteoporosis can cause tremendous pain and frequent
fractures. The good news is that there are now several tests to identify osteoporosis
early. They differ in cost, convenience and accuracy, but they are all painless,
non-invasive, and helpful.
Who should get a bone density test? Ask your doctor what's best for you. The
National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women over 65 be tested.
In addition, menopausal women under 65 with one or more risk factors should
be tested. Risk factors include a history of steroid or thyroid medication
use, eating disorders, smoking, being very thin, excessive alcohol use, low
dietary calcium or a family history of osteoporosis. While Caucasian women
are at increased risk for osteoporosis, this does not mean that women of color
are not at risk. These criteria apply to ALL women.
What if you get tested for osteoporosis and you have it? More good news: there
are several treatment options. We'll discuss these tomorrow.
here for related information.
Created: 5/18/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.