MAY IS NATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS PREVENTION MONTH
Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease in which bones become fragile and are more likely
to break. It has been called the "silent disease" because there are often no symptoms
until the fracture occurs. In most cases, osteoporosis can be prevented by:
Eating foods high in calcium;
Getting plenty of exercise;
Not smoking; and,
Limiting alcohol use.
Early detection is easy. The Department of Health advises adults to ask their doctor or health
care provider if they should have a bone density scan to detect loss of bone mass. The scan
is safe, quick and painless. Several options are now available to treat osteoporosis.
According to a report released in February of this year by the National Osteoporosis Foundation
(NOF), entitled America's Bone Health: The State of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass In Our Nation,
an estimated 44 million men and women aged 50 and older either have low bone mass or osteoporosis.
The current estimated price tag for America in direct medical costs for treating fractures
resulting from osteoporosis is $18 billion annually in 2002
dollars and costs are rising..
The report also shows by the year 2010, it is estimated that over 52 million men and women over
the age of 50 will either have osteoporosis or be at risk. When the youngest of the 77 million
Baby Boomers turn 56 in 2020, the numbers climb to over 61 million-a figure that poses a staggering
challenge to U.S. health care in terms of costs and the ability to provide care.
NOF also reports the increase of osteoporosis in men. The prevalence of low bone mass in men is
estimated at nearly 12 million in 2002. The report further points out that these figures are
expected to climb to over 14 million in 2010 and 17 million by 2020.
For more facts on osteoporosis, call the Florida Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Program
in DOH's Bureau of Family and Community Health at 850-245-4455. Information is also available
on the Web at www.doh.state.fl.us/family/osteo/index.html or go to the
NOF's Web site at www.nof.org
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