Osteoporosis Specialist

Alexandra Pellicena, MD, FACOG -  - OB-GYN

Alexandra Pellicena, MD, FACOG

OB-GYN located in Houston, TX

While osteoporosis has a reputation for affecting older women, all women should be concerned with their risk for developing osteoporosis. Understanding the risk factors that directly impact you and knowing what small steps you can take today to decrease your risk is imperative in maintaining your bone health well into your golden years. Whether you’re in your twenties or eighties, somewhere in between or well out of the range, your doctor should be talking to you about osteoporosis. Contact Dr. Alexandra Pellicena at her self-named Houston, Texas clinic to schedule your annual well-woman visit today.

Osteoporosis Q & A

by Alexandra Pellicena, MD, FACOG

What is osteoporosis?  

Osteoporosis is a disease impacting the density of your bones. Women with osteoporosis have brittle, porous bones that are more prone to fractures.

As many as 55% of people aged 50 and over suffer from either osteoporosis or a decrease in bone mass, equating 44 million people in the US alone. Osteoporosis is quite common.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

Most women don't know that they have osteoporosis because the disease doesn't produce any noticeable signs and symptoms until a fracture occurs.

Because it's unlikely that you'll suspect osteoporosis based on signs and symptoms, it's imperative to schedule your annual physical or well-woman visit, during which you'll be screened for osteoporosis when your age or risk factors indicate it's time.

What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when the body absorbs too much old bone or fails to make enough new bone. In most cases, osteoporosis is called caused by a deficiency in estrogen in women. Other factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis include:

  • A deficiency of calcium or vitamin D
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • A diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome
  • Lack of muscle use
  • History of bone cancer
  • Problems with your thyroid
  • Certain medications
  • Not getting enough calcium in your daily diet

Who is at highest risk of developing osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is much more common in women than men, so if you're a woman, you're automatically at higher risk than a man. Furthermore, small, thin women, older women, and Asian and white women are at highest risk of developing the disease.

Menopause increases your risk, as does cigarette smoking, anorexia, bulimia, alcohol consumption, long-term inactivity, and long-term use of anticonvulsant. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.

Why is it important to seek medical treatment for osteoporosis?

Untreated osteoporosis can result in severe lower back pain that makes it difficult to complete day-to-day activities, like dressing yourself, taking care of your home, and taking care of pets are loved ones.

Additionally, people with osteoporosis are at high risk of bone fractures. Simple weight-bearing can result in a fractured bone.

For example, a person with osteoporosis might break a hip and then fall as opposed to fall and then break a hip. The simple weight of the upper body can result in a fractured bone.