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The National Osteoporosis Foundation Debunks Myths Surrounding Osteoporosis and the Risk of Fractures

While osteoporosis does cause bones to become weak and fragile, so that they break easily – even from a minor fall or a sneeze – osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging.  It is a disease that is common, serious and even deadly. Fractures caused by osteoporosis can be life threatening, a major cause of chronic pain and long-term disability.  The good news is that if people are armed with the facts about osteoporosis, the disease is highly treatable and sometimes preventable.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the nation’s leading healthcare organization dedicated to bone health, encourages everyone to know the facts about osteoporosis and take steps to protect your ability to live an active and independent life as you age.

Myth #1: Most people don’t need to worry about osteoporosis.
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone mass, putting them at greater risk for breaking a bone. According to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be 72 million baby boomers (women and men age 51-72) in 2019. Studies show that one in two women and up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime.

Myth #2: You don’t need to worry about osteoporosis if you just trip and break a bone.
Any broken bones in people over the age of 50 from standing height that are not caused by a serious accident (car crash, falling off a ladder, etc.) can be the first sign of low bone density or osteoporosis. Broken bones from tripping on the sidewalk or falling over something on the floor at home are often related to osteoporosis, yet frequently undiagnosed.

Myth #3: Testing for osteoporosis is painful and exposes you to a lot of radiation.
FACT: Experts recommend a bone mineral density test using a central DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) machine. It is simple, painless, takes 5-10 minutes and uses very little radiation. You are exposed to 10-15 times more radiation flying in a plane round-trip between New York and San Francisco.

“This disease is responsible for two million broken bones each year in the U.S., yet nearly 80 percent of older Americans who suffer bone breaks are not tested or treated for osteoporosis,” said Elizabeth Thompson, CEO of NOF. “If you are age 65 or older and at risk, Medicare Part B covers a bone density test once every 24 months (more often if medically necessary) at no cost to you, when your doctor or other qualified provider orders it. Take advantage of this opportunity to get screened.”

NOF’s website offers important information and resources about risks related to osteoporosis, fractures and treatment.  Visit NOF.org for these resources and more.

About the National Osteoporosis Foundation 

Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation is the nation’s leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life and reducing human suffering through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. For more information on the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org.