Dowager’s hump is an old-fashioned term for an obvious sign of osteoporosis in women. Today’s women do not think of themselves as dowagers once they reach a certain age, but that telltale humping of the back due to bone loss still occurs. On the plus side, women are more often screened for osteoporosis than their male counterparts.
For men, an actual fracture is often the first sign of serious bone loss. Fragile, brittle bones may end up causing permanent disability at worst and a less active and fulfilling lifestyle at best.
Bioidenitcal hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can help prevent osteoporosis in both genders, with the appropriate hormone regimen for each sex and individual. For more information about hormone therapy for osteoporosis in Connecticut, call Dr. Jacobson today.
Osteoporosis is generally considered synonymous with bone loss, but it is somewhat more complicated than that. Bones become fragile and brittle because the body is not making enough bone, losing too much of it, or a combination of the two.
“Porous bone” is the literal meaning of the term, and people suffering from osteoporosis may actually become shorter.
It is known as a silent disease, because a broken bone is often the first symptom. While any bone may break, those most frequently broken because of osteoporosis include:
Throughout an individual’s life, bones are constantly remodeled. Osteoblast cells form bones. At menopause, women lose significant amounts of estrogen as their ovaries stop producing this hormone. The lack of estrogen no longer allows osteoblasts to effectively perform their bone-building work. Over time, half of all women will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Lack of progesterone is another factor in female bone loss. This hormone, production of which also lessens during menopause, can reverse osteoporosis.
BHRT in Connecticut can help prevent osteoporosis by replacing the hormones lost through menopause with plant-based hormones that are the same on the molecular level as those produced by the body. Hence, the term “biologically identical” is used for these hormones.
In men, it is the loss of testosterone that makes the bones more vulnerable. While men do not experience osteoporosis at the same levels as women – 25 percent of men will suffer a broken bone from the disease, versus 50 percent of females – it is still a common condition. Testosterone replacement may prevent these fractures in men.
Low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can contribute to bone loss in women. While DHEA is available in over-the-counter forms, it is not wise to take this supplement unless under a doctor’s supervision.
When part of a BHRT and calcium/vitamin D regimen, DHEA can increase bone density by several percentage points.
After the onset of menopause women can rapidly lose bone strength with the loss of estrogen, with as much as 20% within the first five years.
Osteoporosis refers to the 8-10 fold risk for major fractures—primarily of the weight-bearing bones of the spine, hips, and femur—compared with healthy young adults. Anything less than that is referred to as osteopenia. This is a serious health condition: women in their late 70s who sustain a hip fracture have a 14% mortality rate within a year. The pain, debilitation, and cost of fractures are astronomical, especially for a preventable disease.
There are multiple treatment regimens in Connecticut for both osteopenia and osteoporosis, starting with adequate calcium supplementation, Vitamin D3 with K2 and weight-bearing exercises. The class of bisphosphonates, which include Fosamax (alendronate), Actonel, Boniva and Reclast, can have significant side effects, but most importantly only slow down the bone loss process. Prolia, administered intravenously twice yearly, has been shown to stabilize bone loss and sometimes reverse it. However, adequate estrogen replacement therapy not only arrests the process but reverses bone loss by 2-4% annually! For additional information and confirmatory medical studies visit the chapter Breaking Bad in the book Estrogen Matters by Avrum Bluming MD (Amazon).
If you would like more information on how hormone therapy can help prevent osteoporosis in Connecticut, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s offices today and arrange a consultation.