Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Encourages Community to Check Their Bones

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (PMH) is encouraging members of the community to learn more about osteoporosis and bone health. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 10 million Americans are afflicted with osteoporosis and another 34 million are estimated to have low bone mass.

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. It is referred to as the “silent disease” since many patients are often not aware of their condition until after a fracture occurs.

“Osteoporosis can have a debilitating effect on the lives of patients, if not properly treated. We are here to help our patients develop a personalized treatment plan that will help them to lead an active lifestyle,” says Linda Stead, Chief Nursing Office, PMH. “In fact, my mother has osteoporosis and had a spontaneous fracture of her pelvis due to the osteoporosis before it was discovered. We are now careful to make sure she has her screening exams and has follow-up check-ups with her physician to monitor her medications he prescribed for osteoporosis."

This preventable and treatable disease affects women and men. However, women are more susceptible to osteoporosis due to changes that occur during menopause. This disease can only be diagnosed with a physician administering a bone mineral density (BMD) screening.

Warning signs may include collapsed vertebra which may initially be felt or seen in the form of severe back pain, loss of height, or spinal deformities such as kyphosis, or severely stooped posture. Taking the time to meet with your physician and to get a BMD screening can help to decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis. Knowing your risk and taking essential steps to prevent the disease can have a major effect on treating or even preventing the disease. Some common risk factors of osteoporosis include age, gender, family history and certain medications.

While many risk factors are non-modifiable, there are a few lifestyle changes that can be made to lower your personal risk for osteoporosis:

· Feel the burn: Adapting a regular exercise routine improves bone health and increases muscle strength, coordination and balance.
· Take your vitamins: Calcium and Vitamin D help build strong bones.
· Stop Smoking : Smoking is bad for your bones as well as for your heart and lungs.

All of these changes will not only help you to decrease your risk for osteoporosis, but they will also aid your overall health. For more information about preventing and treating osteoporosis, call Piedmont Mountainside Hospital at 706-692-2441 or visit www.piedmontmountainsidehospital.org.
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