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Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease.  It is described as the weakening of bone tissue over time. which increases the risk of fracture.  A person may not be aware they have it until there is a broken bone.

When looked under a microscope, a healthy bone resembles as a honeycomb but when osteoporosis occurs, the bone described as looking like Swiss cheese.Because a hormonal imbalance can speed bone loss, osteoporosis is treated by an endocrinologist. However, the effects of it such as kyphosis (hunchback) or compression fracture may be treated by an orthopedic doctor.

At University of Maryland our endocrinologists at the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) work together with UM Orthopaedics at diagnosing and treating osteoporosis. To make an appointment with one of our endocrinologists call 443-682-6800.

Osteoporosis Symptoms:

  • Fracture from a fall or minor movement
  • Kyphosis (hunchback)
  • Loss of height
  • Tooth loss
  • Back or neck pain
  • Change in posture

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Osteoporosis mainly affects women who lose the most bone in the first years after menopause. The loss continues through the postmenopausal years and may cause loss of height and weight. A severely rounded upper back, called a dowager’s hump, can also develop.

There are some risk factors you can’t change and some you can. You can’t change your age, sex, family history or ethnicity (white and Asian women have most risk.)

Risk factors you can control include:

  • Hormone levels – less estrogen in women and testosterone in men can reduce bone mass
  • Calcium and vitamin D levels – too little in your diet increases your risk
  • Medications – some corticosteroids and anticonvulsants reduce bone density
  • Tobacco use – is bad for bones and your heart and lungs
  • Alcohol use – increases risk of bone loss and fractures

Osteoporosis Prevention:

You are never too young or too old to improve and protect you bone health. A healthy lifestyle that combines diet and exercise is crucial.  Here are some steps you can take to maintain bone health.

  • Make sure to add plenty of calcium and Vitamin D into your diet. If you don’t eat dairy or have a hard time getting an adequate amount, calcium supplements can help.
  • Avoid smoking and excess alcohol use
  • The right kind of exercise is important.Walking and jogging are great for heart health and maintain a healthy weight but you also need resistance exercise to improve bone density.Weightlifting or adding wrist/ankle weights while walking or jogging is a great way to combine the two.

Osteoporosis Treatment:

Your bone specialist will review your complete health history and do a thorough physical exam. You may also have imaging and other tests like X-ray and a bone density scan. Our experts focus on stopping or slowing down further bone loss.  Patients will also work with one of our registered dietitians to assess and improve a healthy diet. 

Our treatments may include estrogen replacement therapy for women, calcitonin to decrease none loss, and bisphosphonates to increase bone mass and reduce risk for fracture.