While osteoporosis predominately affects women – 50% of American women 50 and older develop the disease – it also impacts 25% of all men in the same age group. Its debilitating effects impact the lives of approximately 52 million Americans who are living with osteoporosis and low bone mass.
Through the questions and answers below, discover more about what is osteoporosis, risk factors and screenings.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bone loss or impairs the body from creating adequate bone.
How does osteoporosis affect bones?
Osteoporosis causes bone to resemble a honeycomb, with more holes and spaces than healthy bone. This makes the bone weak and brittle, causing it to break from even simple actions like bumping into a table or even sneezing.
How is someone screened for osteoporosis?
There are 2 common screenings for osteoporosis:
- Bone mineral scan – the bone mineral density of the heel is measured using an ultrasound bone densitometer. The heel is measured as it is similar to hip bone, which is often the first bone to fracture.
- Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) – evaluates bone mineral density throughout the body using two x-ray beams with different energy levels.
Who should be screened for osteoporosis and how often?
- People with risk factors
- Those being treated for osteoporosis
- Annual health screenings
What are some risk factors for osteoporosis?
- Being Caucasian, Asian or Hispanic
- Thin frame
- Diet low in calcium
- Heavy drinking
What are some warning signs or symptoms of osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a silent disease that isn’t always obvious until a bone breaks. Some early warning signs are:
- Bone fractures, especially the hip, spine or wrist
- Changes in posture
- Curvature of the spine
- Loss of height
- Sudden back pain
Are there any foods or nutrients that help prevent osteoporosis?
- 1,300 mg of calcium daily
- 800 mg of Vitamin D daily
- Collard greens
For more information about osteoporosis, read additional details at the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
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