May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. In conjunction with the observance, here are some interesting facts to consider and understand:
- Bone is living, growing tissue that is both flexible and strong.
- Throughout life, you are constantly losing old bone and forming new bone.
- Osteoporosis happens when you lose too much bone, make too little of it or both.
- Bone loss usually speeds up at midlife in both men and women.
- Osteoporosis and the broken bones it causes can be prevented.
- About half of all women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
- Some medicines and some diseases can cause bone loss.
- Diseases more common in African American women, such as sickle cell anemia and lupus, can lead to osteoporosis.
- About 20 percent of Asian American women age 50 and older have osteoporosis.
- By age 80, Caucasian women lose about one-third of their hip bone density.
- Broken hips among Latinas in the U.S. appear to be on the rise.
- If your mother or father broke bones as an adult, you may be at risk for osteoporosis.
- Women lose up to 20 percent of their bone density in the five-to-seven years after menopause.
- Today approximately 9 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis.
- About 1.5 million men and 7.5 million women have osteoporosis.
- People with osteoporosis cannot feel their bones getting weaker, and many people do not know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone.
- People with osteoporosis most often break a bone in the hip, spine or wrist.
- Bones break more easily in people with osteoporosis, sometimes from simple actions such as sneezing, hugging or bumping into furniture.
- A broken bone in the spine can cause sharp back pain or no pain at all.
- Find out if you have osteoporosis before you break a bone. Ask your healthcare provider when you should have a bone density test.
- You need to get enough calcium and vitamin D every day to keep your bones healthy.
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables benefits your bones and overall health.
- African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are more likely to be lactose intolerant than Caucasians, making it difficult to get enough calcium from foods.
- You should exercise at least 2½ hours every week for strong bones.
- You are never too young or too old to protect your bones. Now is the time to take action!
Part of making a medical evaluation for low bone strength is the DEXA bone densitometry exam. A bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. This test helps to estimate the density of your bones and your chance of breaking a bone. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone density test of the hip and spine by a central DEXA machine to diagnose osteoporosis.
Capitol Imaging Services performs DEXA exams at multiple locations.
To learn more about osteoporosis, visit www.nof.org.