In the past 18 months, some of your medical care — including supporting your bone health — may have fallen by the wayside. In the first few months of the pandemic, for example, about a third of health-care providers in one survey said they had pushed off bone density screenings.
Even before the pandemic, an estimated 10 million Americans older than 50 had osteoporosis, a disease in which bone loss can hike fracture risk, according to some data. An additional 43 million people in the United States, including 16 million men, had low bone mass (osteopenia), putting them at increased risk for osteoporosis.
The resulting fractures can be serious, even deadly: Research shows they’re responsible for more hospitalizations than breast cancer, heart attacks or strokes among women 55 and older. “We’ve reached a global crisis when it comes to the care of osteoporosis,” says E. Michael Lewiecki, director of the New Mexico Clinical Research & Osteoporosis Center in Albuquerque.
To help you keep your bones in the best possible shape, here’s the latest thinking on screening, lifestyle strategies and when medication is the best option.
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