Healthy lifestyle can make a difference in lessening osteoporosis

HARLINGEN — “I can feel it. I can feel it in my bones.”

These words evoke feelings of excitement and anticipation, but there’s one pesky little varmint that can creep into your bones without you knowing it until years later. And if you did suspect his presence, there would be no excitement.

The very mention of osteoporosis can cast a shadow of foreboding, with fears of fractures from falls or other accidents.

Osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone mass, affects women more than men, says Dr. Susan Hunter, an obstetrician/gynecologist affiliated with several hospitals including ValleyBaptistMedicalCenter and HarlingenMedicalCenter.

Women often experience osteoporosis after menopause because their bodies stop producing estrogen, a hormone which helps keep bones strong. The decrease in this hormone can lead to osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle.

Dr. Diana Lozano, an internist at Valley Medical Associates, said osteoporosis is common in the U.S., but not as prevalent as it is in other parts of the world.

“It has a lot to do with diet and exercise,” she said.

About 30 percent of the U.S. population has the condition, she said. It’s more prevalent among Asians and Caucasians, indicating a genetic link.

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