Ten million Americans have osteoporosis. Another 34 million Americans have osteopenia (low bone density). To say it differently, 44 million Americans have unhealthy, weak bones. For women over the age of 50, half will break a bone due to low bone density. For men over 50, nearly 25% will break a bone due to low bone density.
In some regards, osteoporosis is not quite as "scary" as major killers like heart disease or cancer. It may also not have the mystique of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. But consider this; 20% of people who break a hip will be dead within 1 year. That number increases to 25% at the 5 year mark.
Osteoporosis significantly increases the chances that you will break a hip. Interestingly, the number 1 cause of hip fractures, accounting for 90%, is falling. Fall prevention is another topic entirely and can be addressed a number of ways. For this series, we will concentrate our attention on bone health.
Bone health, or lack of it, has serious consequences for average Americans. It is worth our time to investigate the causes of osteoporosis and our best bet in avoiding bone loss. Yes, yes- the usual suspects are involved; make sure you take in enough calcium, vitamin D and get enough exercise. But is there more to the story? We'll discuss osteoporosis in the coming series.