America is an aging country. Naturally, there has been a significant increase in osteoporosis. Our two guests, Dr. Sundeep Khosla and Dr. Ethel Siris, discuss what osteoporosis is and how it can be treated.
Osteoporosis is a disease caused by a decrease in bone density, usually as a result of aging or low levels of estrogen during menopause. Medications taken for a variety of other conditions, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and anorexia nervosa, can also lead to osteoporosis. Hip fractures are most commonly associated with osteoporosis, and the people who suffer them don’t always make a full recovery.
Dr. Khosla, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, says with the increased rates of osteoporosis, the societal cost of fractures will continue to increase dramatically over the next few decades.
A bone density test is available to help determine who may be at risk and reduce the rate of fractures. But, many patients began shying away from prescription drugs after recent studies found common osteoporosis medications can produce risky side effects, such as femur fractures or osteonecrosis.
However, many different drugs have been developed to treat osteoporosis besides the typical ones. As doctors have continued to learn about these drugs and their side effects, they now know how to tailor them to specific patients. For example, scheduling extended periods without taking the drug to avoid negative side effects.
Besides encouraging patients to go through testing and take medication, Dr. Khosla says that taking precautions, particularly educating primary care physicians and patients about the condition, could help lower the risk of fractures from osteoporosis.
Dr. Siris, the director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center of the Columbia University Medical Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, has one, final recommendation: don’t fall. It sounds obvious, but by staying in the best physical shape and staying mindful and aware during the day, individuals can reduce the risk of fractures.
For more information about osteoporosis and our guests, visit the links below.
- Dr. Sundeep Khosla, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
- Dr. Ethel Siris, Director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center