On October 12th, via Zoom, we were privileged to have Dr. Vafa Tabatabaie, Endocrinologist, Associate Professor and Director of the "Fracture Liaison Service" at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY speak to us about Osteoporosis. We learned that:
1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over the age of 50 will experience a fragility fracture in their lifetime. Fracture care is costly and certain complications such as loss of quality of life, pain, impaired mobility, isolation, deformity and even death can and do occur. As a live tissue, bone undergoes a continuous process of destruction, repair and regeneration accomplished by two types of cells - osteoclasts (the clean-up crew) and osteoblasts (the repair crew). Until our early 30's, these two types of cells work in balance together to maintain healthy bone. With aging or due to other medical conditions, the osteoclasts increase in number and become more active, but the osteoblasts cannot keep up resulting in more bone being removed than being restored. The bone's structure becomes more porous or honeycombed in appearance leading first to milder osteopenia and then, if untreated, to osteoporosis. The good news is we need not become statistics. Bone density test or DXA to the rescue! The US Preventive Task Force recommends that women starting at age 65 should be screened for osteoporosis, but it is never too late to have that first scan and periodically thereafter, depending on the findings. This painless x-ray of hip, spine and/or wrist, is covered every 24 months by Medicare, does not require disrobing and the amount of radiation exposure is equal to 1/5 that of a chest x-ray.
If bone fracture happens as a result of low force trauma, it is diagnostic of osteoporosis. Weakened, osteoporotic bones may be fractured merely by riding over a bumpy road or even by the simple act of sneezing. Changes in bone health may be due to aging, menopause, certain medications, sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol drinking, smoking, and chronic diseases such as COPD and overactive thyroid. Timely diagnosis of osteoporosis and institution of treatment will be necessary. The physician discusses treatment options and monitors progress. While any medication can have side effects, the oft-cited and concerning osteonecrosis of the jaw is rare; in fact it has been demonstrated in fewer than 1 in 10,000 to 100,000 patients.
Maintaining good bone health includes living a healthy lifestyle, staying active and insuring your diet includes proper amounts of both Vitamin D and Calcium. Optimally, one's daily diet choices can provide proper amounts of Calcium (1200 mg) and Vitamin D (800-1000 IU). Foods that are rich in calcium include dairy (plant or animal source), dark leafy greens, nuts, and some fortified cereals . Some might need calcium supplementation. Calcium carbonate needs stomach acid for absorption so is best taken with food. Calcium citrate is gentler on the stomach and may be taken anytime with or without food. Vitamin D can be produced in skin when exposed to sun, or may come from plant (D2) or animal (D3) sources and is found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, swordfish, sardines, egg yolks and in foods fortified with Vitamin D. Don't let Osteoporosis rob YOU of living your best life!!
You can download or watch the video of the presentation here. Please note that this video is hosted at Dropbox and not on this website. When you click the link you may get a security warning. If so, accept the risk and continue. A player will open and you can then play the video.
You can listen to the audio of the presentation here
You can download a copy of Dr. Tabatabaie's handout about the osteoporosis here.