Dr. Alan Low, BSc. (Pharm), PharmD, ACPR, FCSHP, Pharmacist, discusses the importance of diagnosing and treating osteoporosis.
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Featuring Dr. Alan Low, BSc.(Pharm.), Pharm. D., FCSHP, Pharmacist Video Title: Osteoporosis Guidelines and Treatment Options Duration: 2 minutes, 28 seconds
Osteoporosis actually occurs when your bones are weak and you have a higher risk of fracture.
This is a higher risk of fracture usually due to some cause such as thinning bones, which might be genetic, or it could be due to certain medications.
The risk of fracture can be broken down into low, moderate, or high risk. Low risk is considered that risk that’s less than 10 percent; moderate risk is between 10 and 20 percent. And those who have a high risk of above 20 are considered high risk of fracture, and should consider treatment.
When getting your assessment for fracture risk, sometimes your physician or healthcare professional will ask you a few questions about your lifestyle. They might also ask you about your falls risk, because that’s also a significant consideration in assessing your risk of fracture.
Your physician or healthcare professional may ask you other questions about assessing your risk of fracture. This could include your intake of dairy, that’s usually to assess your calcium intake. Other questions that might be asked include your physical activity and things like that. Sometimes they might even send you in for an x-ray. This is a DXA scan, and that’s used to measure your bone mineral density.
There are significant consequences of undertreating osteoporosis. These can be morbidity and mortality, that is, another way of looking at it is 23 percent of women, or about one in five who get a hip fracture, actually die within a year.
It’s quite devastating. And one in seven, or about 16 percent, will die as a result of a vertebral or a spine fracture within five years of that fracture. What’s also very devastating is that many patients – men or women who suffer from a fracture – can lose their independence, and are much more likely to end up living in a nursing home, or needing assisted living or some sort of care because they’re unable to be independent any more.
A woman who’s age 50 has a lifetime fracture risk of 12 percent. That’s one in 10, and it’s really these hip fractures that are very significant, with very significant impacts in a very short time. If you’ve had a fracture, more fractures are likely to occur. For example, if a person suffered a fracture of the back or the spine, they’re 40 percent more likely to get another fracture. So it’s really important to prevent that first fracture from occurring.
If you’re worried about weak bones or osteoporosis, it’s really important to speak with your family physician, or your healthcare professional to discuss these risks for fracture, do an assessment of your risks, check on your calcium intake, particularly dairy products, and also regular exercise.
Do check how much you can do. Each person is different, and it’s very important to speak with your physician about that. Speak with your pharmacist about calcium supplements and other ways to prevent fracture risk.
Presenter: Dr. Alan Low, Pharmacist, Vancouver, BC
Local Practitioners: Pharmacist
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This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.