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Identifying and Preventing Osteoporosis with Intermountain Health

Osteoporosis can affect anyone of any race – women or men – although most common in postmenopausal women and in older men.

(PRUnderground) September 19th, 2023

Osteoporosis is a bone disease where bone density mass decreases, or when the structure and strength of bone changes. This can lead to a weakening of the bones that can increase the risk of a break.

“Osteoporosis is a ‘silent’ disease because you typically do not have symptoms until you break a bone,” said James Craven, MD, an endocrinologist for Intermountain Health. “Fractures can occur in any bone but happen most often in larger bones like the hip or vertebrae in the spine or wrist.”

Osteoporosis can affect anyone of any race – women or men – although most common in postmenopausal women and in older men. It affects almost one in five women aged 50 and older and almost one in 20 men aged 50 and over. Family history and lower body mass are also risk factors, and even some medications can weaken bones.

“Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have osteoporosis,” said Dr. Craven.

He explains that patients will discover they have osteoporosis when they break a bone.  Some will think their fracture is because they fell on a hard surface or did not have a chance to catch themselves. “Fractures from a standing height especially in someone 50 or older should be evaluated with a bone density test,” said Dr. Craven.

Fortunately, there is something individuals can do. “We have a very simple, safe, and inexpensive way to screen for it called a DXA to measure the density of the bone,” said Dr. Craven. “Your primary care provider is a great place to start. They can assess your risk and help you find a testing location near you.”

While much of the risk osteoporosis is determined by genetics, there are things people can do to support good bone health, including:

  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
  • Get regular weight bearing exercise like walking or running.
  • Complement that with exercise for strength and balance.
  • Ensure adequate intake of calcium, preferably through diet.
  • Consider a vitamin D supplement of 800-1000 units per day.

“There is some evidence that plant-based diets, adequate protein intake, and avoidance of excessive caffeine are beneficial as well,” said Dr. Craven. “While these actions are important for overall health and fall risk, lifestyle interventions with the use of a proven medication is the most effective way to prevent fractures in patients at high risk.”

James Craen, MD, is an endocrinology speciliasts with Intermountain Medical Group and sees patients at the Intermountain Cottonwood Medical Clinic in Murray, Utah.

For more information on preventing or identifying osteoporosis, see your primary care provider or click here.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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