Checking for Osteoporosis

"First off you need to get your vitamin D level checked."

If your mother, grandmother, aunt or anyone in your family suffers from osteoporosis, chances are you will too.

What it is: a loss of calcium and other minerals in the bone making them weaker."

Because osteoporosis isn't painful there's no way to know if you have a problem until it's too late...unless you have your bones checked.

"Because it is something that you have to detect with a bone density machine called a dexascan. It's a table that you lay on. There's a computer that does an infra-red light that will actually calculate the density of the bone from the outside to the inside, and it gives you what is called the bone mineral density."

You can start losing bone mass in your 40's, or even earlier if you've had a hysterectomy.

And there's actually a pre-osteoporosis condition called osteopenia.

"Actually it's when you start losing your normal bone density, it starts to get lower, there is a stage called osteopenia. It's the stage between the normal bone tribecula and osteoporosis."

That's the time to get your vitamin D level checked.

"People talk about the calcium level. That's not really as important as vitamin D we have found out. A lot of people say well, I drink a lot of milk. If your milk is not being absorbed in your gut then the sunshine can't convert the vitamin D for your bones. I will a lot of times put people on 1000 milligrams of vitamin D a day, if that's not working, then there is a supplement of 50,000 units that we call ergocalciferol. I give a boost once a week or twice a week to get vitamin D level up, then after the vitamin D, there are medications that I use called bisphosphinates."

Bone loss doesn't just happen in women. 50-year-old Steve Jones found that out the hard way.

“I was at one of theme parks down at Disney and broke both of my feet just walking around. About the seventh or eighth bone I've broken in just the past 10 years."

Doctors believe Jones’ bone loss is due to a kidney disease he had a few years ago.

Jones opted for a new type of treatment called IV Therapy.

"The advantage of having IV therapy, right now it's IV Boniva, which is every three months, you can do that right at the physician’s office. It's a very easy procedure. On the Reclast, it is now yearly. What's good about the IV therapy versus the oral or pill that you would take. The IV is the smaller amount so it goes straight to the bones."

IV therapy is also nice for people who can't swallow a pill.

Another important point: weight bearing exercise can also help rebuild bone.

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