Karolyn Senica: Osteoporosis testing, prevention and dangers

Karolyn Senica

Concerned about osteoporosis? If you're a woman over 50, you should be. 

Over 44 million Americans are threatened by osteoporosis: 10 million already have it and another 34 million are at a high risk.

Dr. Kari Senica, a physician at the Orthopedic Center of Illinois, provides the details on the dangers of osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones are weakened and can break very easily, even with minor trauma or a fall from a standing height.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation website, it is defined as "a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine and wrist."

Luckily, there are many steps you can take to keep your bones strong and healthy. 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends:

  • Eating a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Exercising.
  • Not drinking alcohol in excess or smoking.

A healthy diet is the first thing you can do to ensure you have healthy bones. Most people only get about half of the recommended amounts of calcium each day.

Women should be taking in at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily. Low-fat milk, yogurts, cheeses and orange juice are all great sources of added calcium.

Osteoporosis is generally known as the "silent disease" because bones can deteriorate with no warning signs. 

A simple test, known as a Bone Mineral Density test, measures bone density. This painless, non-invasive test can diagnose the disease and alert you to the likelihood of a broken bone, check bone strength and see if treatments are working to improve your overall bone health. It is recommended that post-menopausal women be tested every two years.

A BMD test literally can take as little as 15 minutes. Patients lie on a padded table while the machine’s arm extension scans the body. Patients can even stay in the clothes they wear to the appointment.

It is very important women are aware of their risks of osteoporosis and take the necessary steps to keep their bones strong and healthy to prevent fractures.

Karolyn Senica, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopedic Center of Illinois. She specializes in non-operative general orthopedics including osteoporosis. To learn more, visit our website at www.orthocenter.net.