|Ann Warren, Nadine Bray, Diane Price and Connie Davidson look over Ostoperosis information.|
In May the National Osteoporosis Foundation and Harris Interactive released the results of a survey about osteoporosis awareness and prevention. Overall, they felt the survey showed promising results, with most respondents indicating they were aware of osteoporosis, its risk factors and how to prevent the disease. However, 34 percent of respondents indicated they had never heard of osteoporosis at all, showing more work needed to be done.
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans. Ten million Americans currently live with the disease and nearly 34 million are estimated to have low bone density. Of the 10 million with the disease, 8 million are women.
Osteoporosis, which means “porous bones,” causes bones to become weak and brittle – so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture.
A common result of osteoporosis is fractures – most of them occurring in the spine, hip or wrist. It’s never too late – or too early – to do something about osteoporosis. You each can take steps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life.
In early stages of bone loss, you usually have no pain or other symptoms. But once bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have osteoporosis signs and symptoms that include:
· Older than age 50 with a history of a broken bone
· Take medications such as prednisone or anti-seizure drugs that are associated with osteoporosis
· A postmenopausal women who has recently stopped taking hormone therapy, or
· A woman who experienced early menopause
· A post-menopausal woman with at least one risk factor for osteoporosis
Some of these risk factors you can change, others you can’t.
Risk factors you can change:
- Calcium intake
- Tobacco use
- Eating disorders
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption
- Corticosteroid and other medications
Risk factors you can’t change:
· Being a woman
· Getting older
· Family history of osteoporosis
· Frame size
· Thyroid hormone
· Medical conditions and procedures that affect bone health
In its press release, the National Osteoporosis called on all Americans to get educated about osteoporosis – understand the risk factors, learn how to prevent the disease and take action. That means:
· Striving to get enough calcium and Vitamin D every day
· Don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol
· Talk to your healthcare provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test, and
· Take an osteoporosis medicine when appropriate
It also means talking to family and friends. Many people do not realize that osteoporosis is often considered a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences – approximately 85 – 90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by 18 in girls and 20 in boys. That’s why I stated earlier – it’s never too early or too late to take steps to improve bone health and why parents and grandparents alike are encouraged to have a conversation with their children and grandchildren about bone health and osteoporosis.
submitted by Nadine Bray, DAR Women's Issues Chairman