Osteoporosis Specialist

Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology

Rheumatologists located in Encinitas, CA

Approximately 44 million Americans age 50 and older have low bone mass or osteoporosis, a condition that causes weakened and porous bones. Natalie MacLean, MD, is an experienced rheumatologist providing specialized care for bone and joint diseases, like osteoporosis, at Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology in Encinitas, California. To learn more about managing osteoporosis and protecting your bone health, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.

Osteoporosis Q & A

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to lose mass and become more weak and fragile over time.

During your younger years, your bones are in a remodeling process where they continuously break down and get replaced by new bone tissue. This remodeling process reaches its peak during your mid-to-late 20s.

The exact cause of osteoporosis isn’t known, but bone loss usually begins in your mid-30s. During this time, your bones deteriorate faster than they rebuild, and you experience calcium loss faster than its replaced. Calcium is a mineral your bones need to stay strong and healthy.

As your bones weaken, your risk for breaks and fractures increases.

Who is at risk of developing osteoporosis?

Both men and women can have osteoporosis, but women are at greater risk because of their bone structure and the hormonal changes they experience due to menopause. After menopause, women also have accelerated bone loss for five to seven years before it stabilizes.

Additional factors that increase your risk of osteoporosis include:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • History of fractures
  • Low body weight
  • Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies
  • Genetics

Your chance of having osteoporosis also increases if you have certain conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.

How is osteoporosis diagnosed?

You can have osteoporosis for decades without displaying any symptoms. For many individuals, a fracture is the first sign of the disease. Additional symptoms of osteoporosis include:

  • Loss in height
  • A stooped posture
  • Back pain, usually due to collapsed vertebra or fractures
  • An easily fractured bone

During your appointment, Dr. MacLean works closely with you to review your overall health in addition to discussing your family’s medical history. To look for signs of osteoporosis, she performs a comprehensive exam that usually includes X-rays to look for signs of bone changes.

Dr. MacLean might also conduct a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. This specialized screening provides a more accurate measurement of the bone density in your hips, forearms, and spine.

How is osteoporosis treated?

Dr. MacLean and the Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology team take a holistic approach to treating osteoporosis by focusing on increasing your bone strength and density while also reducing bone loss. This approach often involves:

  • Making lifestyle changes through exercise and diet counseling
  • Managing risk factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Prescribing osteoporosis medications, like bisphosphonates, to slow bone loss

Call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today to learn more.