All Things Osteoporosis with Dr. Richard Gibson – Facebook Live

Dr. Gibson, Tell Us A Little Bit About Yourself And What Specialties You See Here At Bone And Joint Institute

Dr. Richard Gibson: I joined the practice in September just out of fellowship. I’m originally from Maryville, Tennessee, and happy to have made my way back to Tennessee here. I was last in Birmingham doing a fellowship in primary care sports medicine, so I basically do all non-operative orthopaedics. I’m happy to take care of any and every body part and help get you treated and if we do end up having to need surgery, then we’ll get you to the right person. I kind of do a lot of different things here, things like taking care of a lot of the concussions for our high school athletes.

What Is Osteoporosis And The Importance Of Bone Health?

Dr. Gibson: Osteoporosis is decreased bone density. It’s often confused with osteoarthritis, which is more wear and tear to the cartilage in your joints. If you have osteoporosis it means your bones are more brittle and more likely to break. That usually effects, most commonly, post-menopausal women over the age of 50 but it can effect men as well. One in two women will have an osteoporotic fracture in their life at some point over the age of 50 and one in every four men will.

What can cause osteoporosis?

Dr. Gibson: It’s usually a hormonal issue post-menopausal, and it’s just something that, our body is naturally losing bone over time. Just over time, our bones are getting weaker as we age.

What Brings A Patient Into Your Practice That You’d Have An Osteoporosis Conversation With?

Dr. Gibson: The two fractures that are most commonly associated with osteoporosis are vertebral compression fractures in your back, or a hip fracture. But often times the ones that we see the most often are wrist fractures or low-energy trauma fractures to the ankle or the foot. Those can often be the first signs that you have osteoporosis because otherwise it’s a silent disease. You don’t have any symptoms until you break something.

How Do You Find Out You Have Osteoporosis?

Dr. Gibson: There’s a screening test for it. We’ll typically send you over to the hospital to have a bone density test done that looks at your back and your hips to see if they are more likely to fracture.

How Is Osteoporosis Treated?

Dr. Gibson: There’s several different options for it. First you want to make sure you have good calcium and vitamin D levels before you start any treatment process. You want to correct that deficiency if that’s there first. And then there are several different types of medicines that can help. There are pills that you can take daily or weekly, there are injections that you do once a month or twice a year, and there’s even an IV infusion once-a-year option. Most of the traditional medicines for osteoporosis are aimed at decreasing that bone loss that we naturally have over time, but there are some newer medicines that actually help build new bone.

How Do You Prevent Osteoporosis, Or Is It Preventable?

Dr. Gibson: There are some things you can do to decrease that risk. Certainly avoiding tobacco and alcohol, having a good and healthy diet, making sure your calcium and vitamin D levels are normal, and getting regular weight-bearing exercise are important for prevention, but it might not fully prevent the development because it’s a natural thing that happens as we age.

How Is Overall Health And Wellness Effected By Osteoporosis?

Dr. Gibson: Hip fractures and back fractures can be really debilitating things. This is one of the biggest risk factors for our elderly patients needing to be in long-term care in nursing homes. It can lead to decreased mobility, you may not be able to get around as well. If there’s a way to prevent future fractures, it’s something that needs to be done.

Can You Touch A Little Bit On How Your Practice Adds To The Comprehensive Care Bone And Joint Institute Offers To The Community?

Dr. Gibson: I see it a lot in my practice, I think it’s the teamwork we have here. Because I’m non-surgical sports medicine I do a lot of our ultrasound guided procedures and that kind of thing, so oftentimes one of the surgeons will call me and ask me to inject something and then we’ll get them over to another specialist to get that taken care of. Or, if you come in and see me and it turns out what you have needs surgery, then I’ll walk you over to one of our surgeons offices and get you in there, too.

To watch the full segment with Dr. Gibson from Facebook Live, click here.

If you have any questions about osteoporosis or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (615) 791-2630 or schedule an appointment by clicking here.