Osteoporosis – An Under-Diagnosed Condition Affecting Millions!
Research suggests that an estimated 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and about 44 million have low bone density, making them more prone to or at risk of developing the condition. Osteoporosis is a health condition that causes weakness in bones and makes the bones more likely to break. This chronic health condition is the cause of about two million broken bones annually.
Age is one of the most common risk factors for osteoporosis. As people grow older, there is a reduction in the mineral density of the bones. This is one of the reasons why older people are generally prone to bone related weaknesses and conditions like arthritis.
Gender is another factor. One in two American women compared to one in four American men over the age of fifty will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. The risk of osteoporosis-induced fractures in women is also equal to their combined risk of ovarian, breast and uterine cancer. Menopause further increases the risk of osteoporosis in women, as menopausal women tend to lose up to 10% of their bone strength. For men, the likelihood of breaking a bone as a result of osteoporosis is higher than the likelihood of getting prostate cancer.
A complicating factor found in people with osteoporosis is the ‘cascade effect’. This effect doubles the risk of broken bones once a patient has had any fracture. More fractures further increases the risk of the patient breaking more bones. As almost 80% of older Americans who break their bones at
one point or the other are neither tested nor treated for osteoporosis, it is difficult to prevent further fractures in most of these older people.
Osteoporosis, when unchecked, is deadly and costly. Osteoporosis patients can have broken bones from minor falls and domestic accidents. People with serious cases of osteoporosis can break bones from things as seemingly irrelevant as sneezing or bumping into furniture. In the USA, medical cases as a result of osteoporosis cost patients and the healthcare system about $19 billion per annum. Forecasts show that osteoporosis would cause three million fractures and cost healthcare bills of about $25.3 billion by the year 2025.
Based on statistics from research by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, if the current trend in the disease and the prevalence of low bone mass among the population does not change, the population of adults over the age of 50 with osteoporosis or low bone mass will increase to 64 million people by the year 2020, and 71.2 million by 2030. The number of osteoporosis induced fractures is also expected to have grown proportionally.
Oftentimes, people don’t realise they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture. One way to know is to have a bone density test. A score of -2.5 or lower indicates the presence of osteoporosis. Also be aware that if anyone in your family has had osteoporosis, your risk of developing the condition could be higher. Once you find this out, the next thing should be to talk to your healthcare provider about starting an osteoporosis treatment plan. Ensuring you are getting adequate calcium is essential for good bone health, and using a complete calcium complex can really help halt the progression of osteoporosis.
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