Bone Loss, Shrinking In Stature, Not Importance

Last Editorial Review: 8/15/2002

Do the older adults you know seem to be shrinking? Chances are their stature is not what it once was due to bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis refers to thinning of bone (decreasing bone mass and density) resulting from depletion of bone calcium and protein.

It is a misconception to think of age related bone loss as a disease that only affects women. This is an inaccurate assumption, largely due to the pharmaceutical companies marketing their osteoporosis products to an aging female population. According to the Arthritis Foundation; it is estimated that more than 25 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis, with 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occurring each year. The disease affects 1 in 4 women older than 65 years and 1 in 2 women older than 80 years. Osteoporosis affects 1 in 10 men older than 80 years.

If you suffer from osteoporosis, a bad fall can do more than ruin your day. It can potentially rob you of your independence by making you bed ridden or in daily need of a care giver. According to the Arthritis Foundation; approximately 50% of hip fracture survivors are incapacitated permanently. Meet with your physician to assess your bone density and risk for developing osteoporosis. As a preventative measure older adults should take steps to avoid falls. These steps should include: getting eye exams to assess depth perception, exercising regularly to strengthen muscles and improve balance and using walkers and canes; if necessary to help with walking.

Visit the Osteoporosis Center for more information on osteoporosis and osteoporosis prevention.

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