Many people mistakenly equate osteoporosis with old age. It’s actually a chronic disease where bones become thinner, more brittle and more likely to break.[i]
And even though age is one risk factor for the disease,[ii] it’s important for osteoporosis to be on the radar of younger adults as well. A recent study predicts that worldwide, the number of people age 50 and over who are at high risk of fracture will double by the year 2040, reaching as many as 319 million.[iii]
We hit our peak bone mass around age 30, and after that time, gradually begin to lose bone density.[iv] That pace accelerates in the first few years following menopause, when women can go through rapid bone loss.4 It is estimated that one in three women over age 50 worldwide will experience an osteoporotic fracture.[v]
The statistics paint a sobering picture:
· Osteoporosis affects approximately 200 million people worldwide[vi] and more than 10 million men and women in this country are affected[vii]
· In the United States, there are more than two million osteoporotic fractures every year[viii]
· In the U.S., someone breaks a bone as a result of osteoporosis every 20 seconds[ix]
Most people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they have broken a bone.[x] Because it cannot be seen and may not be felt, it often goes undetected until a bone breaks.10 When a bone breaks due to osteoporosis, it often takes more than just a cast to heal.10,[xi]
But by being proactive, women – and men – can boost their bone strength. An important first step is getting a bone density scan, which can let you know the status of your skeleton, and give you the chance to take steps to address your bone health now.[xii]
Use the tips and information from the interview below to help increase your awareness of risk factors and prevention.
[i] International Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis? Available at: https://www.iofbonehealth.org/what-is-osteoporosis. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[ii] International Osteoporosis Foundation. Who’s At Risk? Available at: https://www.iofbonehealth.org/whos-risk. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[iii] Odén, A., McCloskey, E.V., Kanis, J.A. et al. Burden of high fracture probability worldwide: secular increases 2010–2040. Osteoporos Int (2015) 26: 2243.
[iv] National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/bone_mass.asp. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[v] International Osteoporosis Foundation. The Global Burden of Osteoporosis. What you need to know. Available at: http://www.iofbonehealth.org/data-publications/fact-sheets/what-you-need-know-about-osteoporosis. August 17, February 2016.
[vi] American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Position Statement: Osteoporosis/Bone Health in Adults as a National Public Health Priority. Available at: http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1113.asp. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[vii] Wright NC, Looker AC, Saag KG, et al. The recent prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass in the United States based on bone mineral density at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. J Bone Miner Res. 2014; Nov;29(11):2520-6.
[viii] Burge R, Dawson-Hughes B, Solomon DH, et al. Incidence and Economic Burden of Osteoporosis-Related Fractures in the United States, 2005–2025. J Bone Miner Res. 2007;22: 465–475. doi:10.1359/jbmr.061113
[ix] National Osteoporosis Foundation. Donate. Available at: https://www.nof.org/supportnof/donate/. Accessed
August 17, 2016.
[x] National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis. Available at: https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[xi] International Osteoporosis Foundation. Stop at One. One Fracture Leads to Another. Available at: http://share.iofbonehealth.org/WOD/2012/patient_brochure/WOD12patient_brochure.pdf. Accessed August 17, 2016.
[xii] National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bone Density Exam/Testing. Available at: https://www.nof.org/patients/diagnosis-information/bone-density-examtesting/. Accessed August 17, 2016.