In The News
Dr. Andrew Spitzfaden, St. Luke's Hospital
serious: Prevention and proper treatment critical
is a break in the upper part of the femur (thigh) bone and is considered to be the most devastating osteoporosis-related fracture.
is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time, and it affects about one in five American women over the age of 50. About half of all women over 50 will have a
fracture of the hip
, wrist or vertebrae (bones of the spine).
According to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine,
are associated with a high rate of death - as much as eight times greater during the three months following a
. For those who survive,
are associated with prolonged disability and the need for long term medical care.
There are three different types of
, and most require some sort of surgical correction. Some
can be repaired with a rod, plate or screws, while others will require a partial or
total hip replacement
. Patients are encouraged to get out of bed the day following surgery with the assistance of physical therapy, and the amount of weight a patient can place on the injured leg depends on the type of
Women should work with their primary care physician and orthopedic surgeon to determine whether bone density has been reduced and to identify the cause for the reduction. Early treatment of
is the most effective way to reduce bone loss and prevent
. That's because once bone is lost, it is difficult to rebuild.
Building bones through adequate calcium intake and exercise when you are young is a wise investment. Keep in mind that studies have shown smoking and excessive alcohol use can contribute to bone loss. Also, since the leading cause of
in women is a drop in estrogen at the time of menopause, ask your physician about medications to prevent menopausal bone loss such as estrogen replacement therapy, calcitonin or other medications currently in development.
Dr. Andrew Spitzfaden specializes in
orthopedic surgery and sports medicine
at St. Luke's Hospital. Call 314-576-7013 or visit his
This article was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on April 8, 2010.