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Are you at risk for osteoporosis?

How in tune are you with your bone health? It's something that even nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner with Spectrum Health Medical Group, didn't really key in on with her patients until one of them came through her door asking questions.

She, along with Dr. Jeffry Knibbe, an internal medicine doctor, sat down with Leigh Ann to give viewer guidance on how to take care of their bone health and osteoporosis.

One thing about osteoporosis is that it's a silent disease without symptoms. One out of three women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis along with one out of five men. Dr. Knibbe describes osteoporosis as a street sign on the highway, where it tells you where you are at but it doesn't tell you where you have been or how fast you are going. Osteoporosis means there is a problem with the strength of the bones but doctors need to figure out why and how long it's been there.

The best screening is to do Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA scan. It sends tiny signals into the bone to find out how dense it is. DEXA doesn't show the strength of the bones but it will tell you the size or mass of bones you have been given. Menopause actually provides a perfect opportunity to start thinking about female bone health because doctors know that hormones are changing. It's also very important to know family history when it comes to osteoporosis or any health issue.

So what are the risk factors? People who have tiny wrists and ankles, likely from British Isles descent. Also, due to Michigan's weather, we lack Vitamin D deficiency starting prenatal. Some people are not absorbing proper nutrients due to medication side effects or those who have had weight loss procedures.

Foods that provide great bone health nutrients are in the dairy and dark, leafy green families. Hormone replacement therapy for treating menopause symptoms is also a really good medication to help prevent osteoporosis, but it does not treat it.

To continue this discussion or any others related to female healthy, Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

Read more stories like this on Dr. Bitner's Blog.

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