All of us at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center are happy for the opportunity to observe Osteoporosis Awareness Month every year during the month of May. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects a person’s bones, including the 26 bones in each of our two feet. Very often, a bone fracture in the foot provides a person’s first clue that they have the disease.
Read on for some essential Q&A about this common, preventable disease.
- What is osteoporosis?
Another way to say “osteoporosis” is “porous bone.” Any material can be described as porous if it has tiny holes in it. Swiss cheese can be called porous - and, indeed, if you slice a bone in half and the inside looks something like Swiss cheese, the bone is afflicted with osteoporosis. Osteoporotic bone is thin, weak, and easily broken.
- How do you know if you have it?
People are generally unaware that their bones have become weak and fragile - you can’t feel your bones getting thinner! It’s important for people at risk for osteoporosis to get tested.
- Who’s at risk?
- Women: approximately 80% of all people with osteoporosis in the U.S. are female. The risk is highest for post-menopausal women or those with irregular menstrual cycles.
- Smokers - smoking leads to lower bone density.
- People with a family history of osteoporosis.
- Those who eat a poor diet.
- Sedentary people.
4. What’s the test for osteoporosis like?
A bone density test is a simple, non-invasive, painless scan of the body done in a doctor’s office.
5. How can I prevent getting osteoporosis?
Bone loss is common especially among the elderly, but you can reduce your risk by
- eating a diet with sufficient amounts of Vitamin D and calcium
- getting plenty of weight-bearing exercises to keep bones strong
- quitting smoking
Osteoporosis is one of many diseases that can affect your feet. For more information about foot health, bone fractures, or osteoporosis prevention and treatment, residents of Monmouth County can speak with one of our board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, or Dr. Joseph Saka. You can call us at (732) 905-1110 or make an appointment online to see us at one of our offices in Howell or Jackson, New Jersey.