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 More than 44 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone density placing them at risk for osteoporosis. This represents 55% of the people aged 50 and older in the United States.

In fact, half of all women and 20 percent of all men will have an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. In the United States, 300,000 hip fractures occur each year in persons age 65 and older.

The first symptom of osteoporosis is often a fracture. Your risk of future fracture is greatly increased following fracture. Individuals who have had a single vertebral fracture are 5 to 25 times more likely to have another spine fracture.

Osteoporosis is both preventable and treatable. Steps can be taken at any age to prevent or minimize the effect of osteoporosis.

To find out about your bone health is to get a bone density test. This simple, painless test can be done on your spine, hip, wrist, heel or hand. The most accurate bone density test, the DXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry), measures bone density at the hip and spine.

Many insurance companies, including Medicare, cover the cost of a bone density test if you meet certain criteria.

To build or maintain your bone mass as you get older

  • Eat foods high in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Do weight-bearing or resistance activities.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle – exercise, limit alcohol and avoid smoking.
  • Speak with your doctor about specific steps to take to help keep your bones strong, including medications you can take to prevent the disease.

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