LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When a woman recovers from breast cancer, mammograms continue to be part of the follow-up. For heart attack patients, blood pressure medication helps prevent a recurrence.
But there has been very little preventive care when it comes to our bones, until the creation of an innovative program called the Fracture Liaison Service.
Looking back on his 19-year-old self, now 76-year-old CJ Chaisson knows his body has changed a lot through the years.
Chaisson, of Sulphur, is a Navy veteran and welder. He has always been active and that is why he could not believe his daily walk to the mailbox could result in a hospital stay and surgery.
"I lost my balance and I started running and I couldn't," he said. "Then I grabbed hold of a steel pipe and I believe I turned it around and when I fell, I fell on the edge of that concrete."
Chaisson suffered two fractures.
Staci Boudreaux is the coordinator of Bone Health Central, located inside the office of Center for Orthopaedics in Lake Charles. She said Chaisson had what is classified as an "easy fracture" because of undiagnosed osteopenia, which is low bone mineral density and a precursor to osteoporosis.
Boudreaux said the bones of patients with osteoporosis have lots of gaps and spaces, and are much easier to break. Once a person over the age of 50 has one fracture, the chance for another is dramatically higher.
"80 percent of people who have a fracture, who are 50 and older, all that's focused on is fixing the fracture and then they're never evaluated," said Boudreaux. "It becomes a domino effect of one break after another and after another."
But through identifying higher risk patients and those with prior fractures, Boudreaux said a prevention plan can be put in place to stop another fracture from happening.
That is the premise of the National Osteoporosis Foundation's Fracture Liaison Service, now offered at Bone Health Central. It coordinates care between a bone health specialist and primary care physician.
"We're trying to identify patients who are 50 or older with a new fracture, so that they can be evaluated to see if they have osteoporosis so that they can prevent those fractures," Boudreaux said.
Chaisson has been prescribed bone preserving medicine, along with calcium and Vitamin D supplements. He said he is no longer afraid to get out of his house and do something that means so much to him.