Osteoporosis is when bones are becoming too thin and brittle, weak and fracture easily. Fragility fractures happen after little or no trauma. Over a million people in Australia are believed to have the condition. GPs are at the forefront of recognising patients' at risk, investigating and then treating.
Osteoporosis Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have produced new guidelines due to the alarming statistics that fewer than 20% of patients, who see a Doctor with a minimal trauma fracture, are fully investigated or treated for osteoporosis.
Risk factors for Osteoporosis:
- Minimal trauma fractures
- Premature menopause
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hyperthyroidism & hyperparathyroidism
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Coeliac disease
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Low body weight and poor nutrition
- Alcohol more than 2 drinks a day
- Low calcium and Vitamin D
- Family history
- Medications - steroids for more than 3 months, anti- epileptics, anti-psychotics, anti-androgen
If you fall into any of these categories then a bone mineral density scan should be requested. from this your Doctor can determine the T score which is your risk of fracture over the next 10 years.
There are a range of treatments and your doctor will chose the most appropriate one. These can include:
- Bisphosphonates - Actonel, Fosamax or similar
- Denosumab - Prolia injection
- Strontium Ranelate - Protos
- Oestrogen replacement therapy -- Livial
Allied health professionals are also very important in supporting your management. Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists can help implement falls reductions strategies and encourage exercise. Dieticians can help with nutrition in making sure your diet is rich in calcium and vitamin D, aswell as reducing alcohol and stopping smoking.