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More than 2.5 million Americans have the bone-weakening disease known as osteoporosis. PM&R physicians remind patients that there is no cure for this disease, but it can be prevented.

Bone Mineral Density tests (BMD tests) are available which can measure bone density safely and painlessly. The information from this test enables a physician to identify those at risk for osteoporosis which can be used to decide the best course of action for bone health. The information from a BMD test enables your physician to identify where you stand within ranges of what is normal and helps determine whether you are at risk.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation offers an aggressive, non-surgical approach to the treatment of conditions related to osteoporosis. The only way to determine bone health is to have bone density measured. Risk factors can help identify those who are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Here are some of the risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing osteoporosis:
-being female having a small, thin frame
-advanced age
-a family history of osteoporosis
-early menopause
-a diet low in calcium
-use of certain medications (steroids, anticonvulsants, excessive thyroid hormones)
-a sedentary lifestyle
-cigarette smoking
-excessive alcohol intake

By knowing if you are at risk, you can work to prevent osteoporosis before it strikes.

© 2014 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation