Bone Up on Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass as we age, affects 55% of all Americans over 50 and over 200 million women worldwide.

You can guard against bone loss even if factors outside your control put you in one or more of these high-risk groups: women, seniors, whites and Asians, and those with osteoporosis in the family, with less than average estrogen exposure, or with slim or thin-boned frames.

Treatment for certain ailments can also increase your osteoporosis threat:

  • Corticosteroid medications for chronic illnesses like asthma and psoriasis;
  • Anticonvulsants and blood thinners;
  • Chemotherapy or aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer.

Thyroid hormone, either produced by an overactive thyroid gland or taken to supplement gland under-activity, can bring on osteoporosis, as can many kinds of digestive disorders.

FIGHT BACK! Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D; don’t drink to excess; don’t smoke; exercise regularly; don’t starve yourself. Get a bone mineral density test, especially if you’re in one or more of the high-risk groups.

Osteoporosis can be treated. Your doctor may prescribe bisphosphonates, raloxifene, calcitonin, teriparatide or—for the short term—estrogen. If you’re being treated for osteoporosis, we need to know. We’ll work with you and your primary care doctor to keep you healthy right down to the bone.

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