SGCMH launches bone health clinic
SGCMH Launches Bone Health Clinic for Osteoporosis
Ste. Genevieve, MO - A slip. A sneeze. A cough. This may be all it takes for someone with osteoporosis to fracture a bone. Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital just launched a special clinic designed to help individuals with their bone health and considering the number of people over the age of 50 who will fracture a bone—one in two women and one in four men—this clinic was long overdue.
“That’s why we started this clinic,” explained Jody Uding, MSN, FNP-BC. “We are not doing well as a country, in terms of identifying individuals who are at risk for bone fracture. In fact, only about 20% of individuals who fracture actually get treatment or even have a discussion with their primary care provider about it. It seems to take a back seat to more urgent health concerns like diabetes or heart disease. There’s a gap in care and we’re trying to close that gap.”
Uding explained that osteoporosis is a bone disease that is characterized by a loss of bone mass and weakened bone structure that will cause an increased risk of bone fractures. Post-menopausal women can develop osteoporosis as estrogen levels fall, so it’s sometimes thought of as a female disease. However, men can also get the disease. In fact, the risk of fracture equalizes when men turn 70.
Osteoporosis is really a silent disease according to Uding.
“Individuals normally don’t have any symptoms unless they’ve had a vertebral fracture which can cause pain,” she said. “Even coughing can cause a vertebral fracture. Often, you’ll see more of a hunched posturing. If an individual has lost more than two inches of height, that’s certainly an indicator that their bone density is low, and they are at risk for vertebral fractures.”
Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine and could lead to long-term disability.
“What we’re finding is osteoporosis-related complications are accounting for more hospital stays than even cardiac events,” she said. “Ideally, if we can prevent a fracture that’s certainly what we want. Individuals who do fracture can lose their freedom and the ability to care for themselves, and a percentage of these people will end up in nursing homes. It certainly effects your quality of life.”
Once diagnosed with osteoporosis you may be able to improve and stabilize the condition.
“Once you have osteoporosis, it’s kind of like having diabetes,” she said. “Even though I have my sugars under control, I’m still diabetic, but what we’re finding with different medications, exercise, and calcium and vitamin D that we can certainly get an individual back close to normal or in the osteopenia range. This is the gray area between normal and osteoporosis. So absolutely there’s a lot we can do to prevent it and many things to improve it.”
The osteoporosis clinic, which will be known as the Bone Health Clinic, is being held at the Pointe Basse Family Health Care.
“We certainly like the name Bone Health Clinic better,” said Uding. “It’s easier to pronounce and spell, and for some osteoporosis feels like hanging a tag of frailty on them. We help people with low bone mass to manage their disease, focusing on reducing their risk of getting fractures and improving their quality of life with more robust activity and motion. We also do a comprehensive review of their diet. You can't feel osteoporosis, so it's not always easy to imagine that what you're eating, or not, is harming your bones.”
Mid America Rehab will be a major part of the program helping patients identify what exercises will help increase their balance and core strength.
“We advise individuals to contact their primary care provider to see if they might benefit from the Bone Health Clinic or they can call me at Point Basse Family Health Care at 573-883-2782,” said Uding. “We want people to take charge of their bone health and “own the bone!”
Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit county owned community hospital that works to continue to improve the health and well-being of the community. Our professional staff uses advanced technology and medicine to provide excellent, personalized, and compassionate healthcare. For more information on Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, visit stegenevievehospital.org.