Osteoporosis prevention: Free bone screenings set for Kings Beach, Truckee | SierraSun.com

Osteoporosis prevention: Free bone screenings set for Kings Beach, Truckee

Ann Sura, MD
Special to the Bonanza
Approximately 85-90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in boys.
Courtesy Thinkstock.com | iStockphoto

To recognize National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, and in the spirit of community giving, NaturaMed Natural Family Medicine is offering free bone density screenings.

They will take place from 3-6 p.m. Monday, May 11, at the NaturaMed office in Kings Beach, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at New Moon Natural Foods in Truckee.

What is osteoporosis and why should I care, you may ask? Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of the bone tissue.

This bone loss leads first to osteopenia (a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal but has not quite reached the level that defines osteoporosis), and then to full blown osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a potentially painful and crippling disease. At least 11 million Americans currently suffer from osteoporosis and another 43 million more have low bone mass (osteopenia), making them more susceptible to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

While some bone loss can be expected as part of the normal aging process, osteoporosis occurs when bone loss is so severe it causes bones to become porous, brittle and likely to break.

The bones most likely to break are the hip, spine and forearm. Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because it doesn’t produce symptoms until a bone breaks, often without a fall or other “trauma.”

Without intervention, 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men age 50 and above will experience a broken bone due to osteoporosis. In fact, a woman’s risk of hip fracture alone — the most painful and debilitating of osteoporosis fractures — equals her combined risk of developing breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.

The personal consequences of untreated osteoporosis may be loss of independence, pain, deformity, disability, even death. Osteoporosis has serious health and financial consequences.

More than 50 percent of hip fracture survivors require assisted living for the remainder of their lives, and 20 percent (1 in 5) die within one year after the fracture.

Osteoporosis is actually considered a “pediatric disease with geriatric consequences.” Approximately 85-90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in boys.

It is never too early (or too late) to take steps to improve bone health. The National Osteoporosis Foundation encourages parents and grandparents to have a conversation with their children and grandchildren about bone health and the importance of getting enough calcium, vitamin D and bone healthy exercise every day.

ARE YOU AT RISK FOR OSTEOPOROSIS?

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are female and answer “yes” to any of the following questions. Are you:

Light skinned?

Thin or small framed?

Approaching or past menopause?

A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol and/or soda pop in excess?

Taking thyroid medication or steroid based drugs for asthma, arthritis, other autoimmune disorders or cancer?

Taking antacids, anti-ulcer medication, Dilantin or Lasix?

Or, do you have:

A family history of osteoporosis?

Chronic intestinal disorders?

A sedentary lifestyle?

A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in animal meat products or processed and refined foods?

Many individuals — men and women — don’t even know they are at risk for osteoporosis!

Take the first step in protecting against this serious health concern by visiting us May 11 at NaturaMed Natural Family Medicine at 8130 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach, or May 16 at New Moon Natural Foods at 11357 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.

These free screenings (valued at $50) are the first step in identifying risk factors in the development of osteoporosis and osteopenia. With the prevalence of osteoporosis reaching epidemic proportions in our country today, experts predict that by 2025 osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures and $25.3 billion in costs each year.

We highly suggest you call NaturaMed Natural Family Medicine at 530-546-0400 to make an appointment for your bone density screening. Appointments are available every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dr. Ann Sura is a Naturopathic Doctor, serving our community with 17-plus years of experience as a Family Practitioner. She has been with NaturaMed Natural Family Medicine in Kings Beach since October 2010. Visit naturamedtahoe.com to learn more.