Osteoporosis & Wrist Fractures

Osteoporosis is decreased bone density (“thinning of the bones”) that dramatically increases the risk of fracturing or “breaking” a bone. Osteoporosis is a common and serious problem, with more than 200 million people suffering from this dangerous condition.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years old and 1 in 5 men will experience a broken bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime! This staggering statistic means that everybody should be aware of the risks of osteoporosis. But because it is a silent and often painless condition, many women and men are unaware that they are at risk

Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis typically occurs as part of aging – but risk factors vary from person to person.

Some of the risk factors for osteoporosis are:

  • age (over 50),
  • heredity,
  • being female,
  • menopause
  • hormone changes,
  • lack of activity,
  • smoking,
  • alcohol,
  • certain medications

Most Common Osteoporosis Fractures

The most common broken bones related to osteoporosis are: vertebra fractures, hips fractures, and wrist fractures. This is a serious problem because it is estimated that only one-third of patients incurring a hip fracture re-gain their functioning and about 20% of hip fracture victims will die within a year following the fracture.

Osteoporosis Related Broken Wrists

A wrist fractures is often the very first sign or indication of osteoporosis in a person. Approximately 250,000 osteoporosis-related wrist fractures occur every year in the United States.

Of every wrist fracture treated in the U.S. it is estimated that 34% of women and 17% of men had underlying osteoporosis which caused or contributed to their wrist fracture.

Sadly, incurring a wrist fracture results in an increase of 200% to 400%  in the risk of a subsequent bone fracture compared with individuals who had no prior fracture.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis to Prevent Broken Wrists

Diagnosis of osteoporosis is best determined and quantified by a DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan.  Dr. Rehman or your physician can tell you if you fit the criteria to receive a DEXA scan for osteoporosis.

Generally it is recommended that all women aged 65 and older, as well as post-menopausal women, less than 65, with certain risk factors for osteoporosis should receive DEXA screening.

Preventing Wrist Fractures Due to Osteoporosis

There are three categories of osteoporosis prevention that can help you avoid wrist fractures and other broken bones:

Osteoporosis lifestyle modifications

  • regular exercise
  • weight-bearing activities
  • stop smoking
  • decrease alcohol use
  • balanced, calcium rich diet
  • sunshine for Vitamin D production

Osteoporosis dietary supplements for patients over 50

  • 1000-1500mg of calcium daily
  • 800-1000iu of Vitamin D daily

Osteoporosis Medications

  • hormone replacement (HRT, BHRT)
  • alendronate (Fosamax)
  • risedronate (Actonel)
  • raloxifene (Evista)
  • ibandronate (Boniva)
  • calcitonin (Calcimar)
  • zoledronate (Reclast)
  • teriparatide (Forteo)
  • denosumab (Prolia).

If you have suffered a wrist fracture it may be the first sign that you may have osteoporosis. And if have osteoporosis, but have not yet broken a bone, you are at much greater risk of fracture and subsequent immobility.

Remember that some broken bones do not show signs of pain or swelling – and can go misdiagnosed – worsening the condition. If you are a man or women over the age of 50 (or who has increased risk factors for osteoporosis) discuss DEXA screen with your primary care physician today.

And if you have any undiagnosed aches, pains, lumps, bumps or swelling in your hands, fingers, wrist or arm, it is important to see a specialized hand doctor like Dr. Rehman to diagnose and properly treat your condition – so that it does not worsen.

Wrist Fracture Due to Osteoporosis

If you are suffering from any injury, bumps, pain or restriction of movement in your fingers, wrist, elbow or arm, contact board certified hand surgeon Doctor Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. As with most medical conditions, early detection, awareness, and a prevention or treatment plan is the most effective way to combat the effects of conditions like osteoporosis.

Doctor Rehman will assess your individual situation, and prescribe the treatments that are best for your condition.

Wrist Fracture Hand Specialist: 248.335.2638