Osteoporosis and Broken Bones

The media has done a great job teaching our population, especially women, to worry about breast cancer and heart disease, but I’m not sure they have done enough to get us to worry about our bones.
I don’t take care of broken bones very often these days, but I do try to tell as many of my patients as possible to worry about their bone health. I tell them that they start losing bone at age 30, so they should be doing everything in their power to keep it, which means calcium and vitamin D and weight bearing exercise.

Hopefully we avoid a fracture in the first place, but if you suffer from a low energy fracture defined as a fracture from falling from a standing height or essentially any broken bone that occurs without a significant trauma, then you need to have a work up looking for risk factors for osteoporosis or osteopenia.
This article discusses the fact that hospitals and doctors in general have a very poor track record of diagnosing and treating weak bones. Part of the reason for this is that doctors and hospital workers are not trained in what to include in the work up following a fracture, and how to properly treat patients with weak bones. We know to worry about smokers and lung cancer. But a broken wrist is much more likely to predict a broken hip, and in most cases it gets treated and then ignored without further evaluation and treatment to prevent the next broken bone.