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What is Osteoporosis?

Got milk?† If you didn't get enough as a youngster you may be at increased risk for osteoporosis, a debilitating disease where bone is lost and fracture risk increases.† We all know an Aunt Tillie who fell and had a hip fracture.† What we don't always realize is that she may have had osteoporosis which caused the fracture which caused the fall.† Most people don't know that after her hip fracture, she has a one in five chance of dying within a year and a one in four chance of being unable to live independently.

Inadequate calcium intake is only part of the osteoporosis story.† The greatest risk for osteoporosis is estrogen loss, particularly for women going through menopause.† In fact, osteoporosis is much more common in women than men.† Other risk factors include lack of exercise, smoking, taking steroids or thyroid medication, or any estrogen deficiency.

The good news about osteoporosis is that there are now several good treatments and preventive measures in addition to estrogen, both hormonal and non-hormonal options.† Get adequate calcium, exercise, eat properly, review your medications with your physician, and consider be sure to have your bone density test as recommended by your physician.† Early diagnostic testing is strongly recommended for all women at risk.

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Created: 10/23/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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