Osteoporosis is a silent condition characterized by reduced bone mass and abnormal internal bone architecture. Osteoporosis, the most common human bone disease, occurs when bone resorption exceeds bone formation, resulting in reduced bone strength, poor bone quality, and an increased risk of bone fracture. As part of the natural aging process, bones begin to deteriorate faster than new bone can be formed, eventually progressing to a point where a fracture can easily occur, causing pain, disability and even death. The most common fractures are the hip, spine, wrist and foot. Women are four times more likely to develop the disease than men. However, men suffer 1/3 of all hip fractures that occur. And 1/3 of these men will not survive more than a year. There are many Risk Factors for Osteoporosis including: ·AGE: The risk of Osteoporosis increases as a person gets older. The Bones become weaker and less dense as we age. ·GENDER: Women are at a greater risk of developing Osteoporosis because bone loss occurs more rapidly due to changes during menopause. ·RACE: Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop Osteoporosis. ·BONE STRUCTURE & BODY WEIGHT: Small-boned and thin women are at greater risk. ·MENOPAUSE/MENSTRUAL HISTORY: Normal or early menopause, brought about naturally or because of surgery increases the risk of developing Osteoporosis. Women who stop menstruating before menopause because of conditions such as anorexia or bulimia, may also lose bone tissue and develop Osteoporosis. ·LIFESTYLE: Smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, consuming inadequate amounts of calcium, or getting little or no weight-bearing exercise increases the chance of developing Osteoporosis. ·MEDICATIONS & DISEASE: Osteoporosis is associated with certain medications such as corticosteroids. A number of medical conditions including some endocrine disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and immobilization are also associated with Osteoporosis. ·FAMILY HISTORY: Susceptibility to a fracture may be hereditary. Women whose mothers have a history of vertebral fractures are at increased risk of fracturing. The availability of a growing number of effective therapeutic options for the prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis have heightened interest in diagnostic testing and spurred the development of new testing methodologies. To confirm a diagnosis of Osteoporosis or determine one's risk for developing the disease, most doctors require a comprehensive medical assessment, including a life style survey and medical history. Based on the number of risk factors, a doctor may recommend that the patient have a Bone Density test. Bone Densitometry is the accepted standard for quantifying bone mass at various skeletal sites. The heel bone is the preferred site to monitor bone density. It is 95% trabecular bone and is metabolically very active and reflects the effect of age, menopause and exercise. Bone Mineral Density screening can now be performed quite cost-effectively with peripheral scans of the heel bone in which we provide in our office for patients. In August of 1997 President Clinton signed into law the Medicare Bone Mass Measurement Coverage Standardization Act, Which was effective July 1, 1998. The law requires Medicare coverage for Bone Mineral Density studies of estrogen-deficient women. The emphasis was on the PREVENTION of osteoporotic fractures. If you feel if you are 65 and older, a post-menopausal women or have one or more risk factors then you should have a bone Mineral Density Scan performed. Based on the Bone Mineral Density Scan results a prevention or treatment plan can be started. Don't wait before it is too late.