“My bone density scan indicated I had weak bones in my spine and hips, which surprised me because I’m in pretty good shape,” Katharine said. “I was talking to a friend about my results and she recommended I see Joseph Smith at the Bone Health Clinic.”
Joseph Smith, an internal medicine physician assistant at the Ascension Sacred Heart Bone Health Clinic, works with patients of any age to develop treatment and prevention plans that reduce fracture risk. Joseph said the clinic's goal is to help people age successfully so they can continue to live independently.
“Just like a cardiologist orders blood work to determine the risk of having a heart attack, my job is to check bone density and review risk factors to keep you from having a hip fracture,” he said. “After a hip fracture, about 30 percent of people over 50 don't regain their pre-fracture level of independence. That percentage more than doubles to 70 percent for those 80 and older.”
As people get older, they lose more bone than they build. Osteoporosis is a silent disease because people are unaware of it until they sustain a bone fracture. There are usually no symptoms before then. Approximately 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture.
Katharine said Joseph took the time to explain her condition and review the available options.
“Joseph was awesome,” she said. “We evaluated my overall lifestyle habits, health and nutrition to make sure that I was doing what I needed to promote bone health. He provided literature on various treatment options that helped me make an informed decision about my care.”
Joseph connected Katharine with a physical therapist at Ascension Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Services, who developed a home fitness program that included specific weight-bearing and resistance exercises to strengthen her bones. Katharine also started a daily treatment to decrease the chance of fractures.
At first, Katharine was in disbelief about her osteoporosis diagnosis. But developing a plan with Joseph put her mind at ease.
“When you get any kind of diagnosis, I think you should attack it head-on by getting as much information and support as possible so you can do what’s best for you,” she said. “Going to the Bone Health Clinic did that for me. I can’t cure my osteoporosis, but this way, I can take responsibility for my health.”
For more information about the Bone Health Clinic, call 850-494-9002.