SSM Health Medical Minute: The rising tide of osteoporosis

ST. LOUIS - Educating patients about bone fragility and osteoporosis is critical to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Nelson at SSM Health DePaul Hospital. At a recent orthopedic summit, Dr. Nelson gave a presentation with evidence as to how fragility fractures and the weakening of the bones as we age can be prevented with the proper steps.

National Institutes of Health defines osteoporosis as “a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength predisposing a person to an increased risk of fracture.”

Osteoporosis is typically brought on by aging but several other factors contribute as well including:

  • Estrogen loss
  • Caucasian and female
  • Current smoker
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Personal history of fracture
  • Parental history of hip fracture
  • Vit D and Ca deficiency
  • Low weight or malnutrition
  • Chronic glucocorticoid therapy
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Endocrine disorders

Fragility fractures are only becoming more common, with more than 10 million patients currently affected by Osteoporosis. A third of these patients will suffer a hip fracture yearly and nearly 50 percent of white women and 20 percent of white men will suffer fragility fractures in their lifetime. These fractures often are the cause of morbidity as the patient has loss of function and independence, is forced to enter nursing homes or residential care facilities and often causes depression for the patient as they work to recover.

There is hope with the proper screening and care. To learn more about how SSM Health orthopedics can help, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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