What Women Need to Know to about Osteoporosis as the Weather Turns Cold – Interview
As winter approaches, so do the hazards posed by outdoor conditions. Slippery surfaces can lead to falls and bone fractures among even the surest of foot. However, some fractures may not be solely a result of falling, but a sign that something more serious is going on, especially for postmenopausal women. It could be a sign of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
As one ages, the bone building (or formation) process is often unable to keep up with the bone loss (or resorption) process. In effect, postmenopausal osteoporosis occurs when bone loss surpasses bone formation after menopause.1 In fact, in the first five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20% of their bone density.2
Over 8 million women in the U.S. over the age of 50 are impacted by osteoporosis,3 and an estimated two million osteoporotic fractures occur annually.4 This number is projected to grow to three million by 2025, with direct costs expected to surpass $25 billion.4
One of the challenges both doctors and patients are facing is the disconnect between osteoporosis and related fractures, which is often overlooked.5 In the U.S., osteoporosis-related fractures cause more hospitalizations each year in women 55 and older than breast cancer, heart attacks or strokes.6 Adding to this concern, younger postmenopausal women (in their 50s and 60s) often mistakenly categorize osteoporosis as a geriatric problem that they will worry about when they are much older.7
One suggestion to potentially help improve these outcomes is increased collaboration among primary care providers, specialists and patients in the diagnosis and treatment of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis at high risk for fracture. Additionally, women should be more proactive about their bone health and consider getting a DXA scan, similar to their regular mammogram.
Please join me in a recent interview with Dr. Laila Tabatabai of Houston Methodist Hospital along with with Liz Alhand, a nurse and postmenopausal osteoporosis patient as they discussed the occurrence of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, its connection to fractures and the need for increased collaboration among patients and doctors to improve bone health, especially as the hazards of winter approach. Liz will also discuss her own experience of being diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis, the steps she has taken to help treat her postmenopausal osteoporosis and her treatment with an anabolic medication.
See the entire interview here:
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Laila S. Tabatabai, M.D.
Laila S. Tabatabai, M.D., is the Director of the Houston Methodist Hospital Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. She received her medical degree, with distinction in research, at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. Her postdoctoral training included an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and a fellowship in endocrinology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. As the Director of the FLS, she is active in providing education addressing the reduction of fracture risk and coordinating treatment programs care for fracture patients.
Liz Alhand, RN, CPA
Liz Alhand, RN, CPA is a retired healthcare executive based in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Throughout her extensive career in healthcare she worked first as an intensive care nurse and has held chief financial and executive roles working for various multi-hospital healthcare organizations across the country. Over a ten-year period, Liz experienced two separate ankle fractures and a broken hip before being diagnosed with postmenopausal osteoporosis in 2017. By sharing her story as a patient, Liz is hoping to help educate and empower postmenopausal women to be proactive about their bone health in partnership with their healthcare providers.
1 Feng X, McDonald JM. Disorders of Bone Remodeling. Annu Rev Pathol . February 2013:121-145. doi:10.1146/annurev-pathol-011110-130203. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20936937. Accessed December 2, 2016.
2 NOF_What Women Need to Know_2019.
3 Wright 2014. The Recent Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in the U.S. Based on BMD at the Femoral Neck or Lumbar Spine. JBMR.
4 Dempster DW. Osteoporosis and the burden of osteoporosis-related fractures. Am J Manag Care. 2011; 17:S164-S169. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51495284_Osteoporosis_and_the_burden_of_osteoporosis-related_fractures. Accessed December 2, 2016.
5 Pisani et al. Major Osteo Fragility Fractures. WJO 2016.
6 Singer A, Exuzides A, Spangler L, et al. Burden of illness for osteoporotic fractures compared with other serious diseases among postmenopausal women in the United States. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(1):53-62.
7 International Osteoporosis Foundation. OsteoLink survey key findings. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/osteolink-survey-key-findings. Accessed September 5, 2019.