A rheumatologist treats a number of medical conditions that affect different parts of your body. If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may want your condition to be managed by a rheumatologist so you get cared for by a specialist. Here's an overview of this medical condition and the treatments your rheumatologist might suggest.
Osteoporosis Causes Your Bones To Lose Mass
Osteoporosis is a problem because it causes your bones to become less dense. Weaker bones break more easily, so that's why it's important to treat this condition. Osteoporosis often goes undetected until you fracture a bone or until you have a bone density scan. The condition often shows up in your senior years at a time when a fractured bone can cause serious complications.
Some things that increase your risk of osteoporosis include being past menopause, smoking, drinking alcohol, a family history of osteoporosis, early menopause, poor diet, lack of exercise, and a history of taking medication that thins your bones. If you have any of these risk factors, you may want to ask your doctor when you should have your first bone scan.
Lifestyle Changes Might Slow Bone Loss
Stopping smoking and giving up alcoholic drinks may slow down bone loss since smoking and drinking accelerate your bone thinning. Your rheumatologist might recommend dietary changes too so you get more calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
Exercises, especially weight-bearing exercises, might also be recommended by your rheumatologist since exercise can make bones stronger. Your doctor might also recommend certain supplements, such as calcium and vitamin D to help your bones stay strong. Be sure to take the recommended dosage and be consistent with supplements.
Medications May Be Necessary
Your rheumatologist has a variety of medications to consider when treating your osteoporosis. They have to consider the severity of your condition and your risk of fractures against the possible side effects of osteoporosis drugs.
Estrogen is one possible medication your doctor might try. Hormone replacement therapy can restore your hormones to the level they were before menopause so your bone loss slows down. Thyroid hormones might also be considered. Another drug is a monoclonal antibody that's also used to treat bone cancer. This drug is considered when you have a very high risk of fracture.
Other drugs used for osteoporosis include bisphosphonate drugs that can be taken orally or by IV. These medications can affect the levels of calcium and vitamin D in your body, so your rheumatologist may monitor your levels with regular blood tests and adjust your dosage of supplements as needed.
To learn more, contact a clinic like Sarasota Arthritis Center.