If you suffered a stress fracture, ask “Am I at risk for osteoporosis?”
Osteoporosis can affect men and women of all races. But some — especially older women— are at higher risk.
Most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 20s. Maintaining higher bone mass can decrease the likelihood of osteoporosis later in life.
Although foot fractures can be painful, fractures in the spine or hip are more serious complication of osteoporosis with an increased risk of death within the first year after the injury.
Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have:
• Low calcium intake
• Eating disorders
• Gastrointestinal surgery (low calcium absorption)
• Steroid or certain other medication
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Tobacco use
If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking calcium supplements. However, too much calcium has been linked to kidney stones. Vitamin D improves your body's ability to absorb calcium.
Exercise will benefit your bones no matter when you start, but you'll gain the most benefits if you start exercising regularly when you're young and continue to exercise throughout your life.
Swimming, cycling and exercising on machines such as elliptical trainers can provide a good cardiovascular workout (especially if you have a painful foot), but they're not as helpful for improving bone health.
Treatment recommendations are often based on a bone density test (DEXA). For people at high risk, the most widely prescribed osteoporosis medications are bisphosphonates. Examples include:
• Alendronate (Fosamax)
• Risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia)
• Ibandronate (Boniva)
• Zoledronic acid (Reclast)
It is important to understand the risks associated with bisphosphonates before beginning therapy. Perhaps a different medication is preferable, such as hormone replacement, Denosumab (Prolia), or Teriparatide (Forteo).
For more information, Dr. Steven Miller can be reached by calling (847) 675-3400.