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Consider the cost of osteoporosis to us all

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Total fractures were over 2 million, costing nearly $17 billion in 2005, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Osteoporosis is more than a disease that affects the elderly.

Why?

The population is aging, this means more and more people are reaching the high-risk age for osteoporosis-age 50.

It also means the burden of the cost is falling on fewer and fewer workers.

It is not just hip fractures either.

Hip fractures account for only 14 percent of all osteoporosis related fracture but 79 percent of all costs.

Spinal or vertebral fractures account for 27 percent, and wrist fractures, 19 percent.

Women account for 71 percent of all fractures and 75 percent of all cost.

Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in humans and represents a major public health problem as outlined in the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis.2

“Thirty years ago, doctors thought weak bones and osteoporosis were a natural part of aging, but today we know they are not. We can do a lot to prevent bone disease,” said Dr. Carmona.

About one out of every two white women will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in her lifetime, as will one in five men.

Most fractures in older adults are due in part to low bone mass, even when they result from considerable trauma.

Fractures may be followed by full recovery or by chronic pain, disability, and death.

These fractures can cause psychological symptoms, most notably depression and loss of self-esteem, as patients grapple with pain, physical limitations, and lifestyle changes according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

The economic impact is greater than many realize.

Over 432,000 hospital admissions, an estimated 2.5 million office visits, and about 180,000 nursing home admissions a year in the United States.

For a more complete picture of the impact, one must add in the more than 33.6 million people with low bone mass.

Each of us must be proactive when it comes to taking care of this body we have been given. Daily choices of eating more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products; less fats and sugars; moving more and sitting less will decrease your risk of osteoporosis.

The Bullitt County Health Department and your health care provider are partners you can call on for help in preventing osteoporosis and low bone mass.

“The health department offers exercise classes such as BODY RECALL(c) designed to teach you how to move each part of your body, help with balance, and fall prevention. Coming soon will be an Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi program and the Strong Women program,” said Cynthia Brown, Health Education Coordinator at the health department.

“We offer nutritional counseling for all types of disease conditions and the Living Well Workshop to help people with chronic diseases, like osteoporosis, learn to deal with and live with their condition.” For more information, call the Health Education Department at 955-5355.