Osteoporosis Awareness

One in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in his/her remaining lifetime. 34 million Americans have low bone mass, which puts them at risk of developing the disease. Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually.

Risk Factors

  • Personal history of fracture after age 50
  • Current low bone mass
  • History of fracture in a first degree relative
  • Being female
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Advanced age
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Estrogen deficiency as a result of menopause, especially early or surgically induced
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Low lifetime calcium intake
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Use of certain medications like corticosteroids and anticonvulsants
  • Presence of certain chronic medical conditions
  • Low testosterone levels in men
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Current cigarette smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Being Caucasian or Asian, although African Americans and Hispanics are at significant risk too

Five Steps to Bone Health and Osteoporosis Prevention

(provided by the National Osteoporosis Foundation)

  1. Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D
  2. Engage in regular weight-baring exercise
  3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
  4. Talk to your doctor about bone health
  5. Have a bone density test and take medication when appropriate

When your body does not receive enough calcium, it will take calcium from your bones. Therefore, it is important for women to have between 1000 mg and 1300 mg of calcium each day. Your body requires vitamin D in order to absorb calcium, which is found in fortified foods and in the skin following exposure to sunlight. Exercise helps build muscle, and strong muscles place less strain on bones. Osteoporosis has no cure, but bisphosphonates (alendronate and risedronate), calcitonin, estrogens, parathyroid hormone, and raloxifene are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.