The silent epidemic: Osteoporosis

Did you know that May is National Osteoporosis Prevention month?  Do you care?  You might if you knew this condition affects one in every two women and one in every four men over the age of 50. But it has no obvious early symptoms. Guess what the first symptom often is? A broken bone.

This is problematic because osteoporosis does not give early warning signs. A broken bone is generally the first symptom and it isn’t caused by a major fall or trauma. A bone may break from something as simple as a sneeze or minor bump.

Fractures (broken bones) caused by osteoporosis are most common in the wrist, spine and hip. The pain and immobility are minor compared to the fact that 25% of individuals sustaining a hip fracture die within a year. Another 25% are unable to live independently following a hip fracture.

I’m a retired women’s health nurse practitioner and watched two of my relatives become casualties of osteoporosis. My grandmother had a broken hip that resulted her living the rest of her life in a nursing home. My aunt had steroid induced osteoporosis that resulted in severe osteo, multiple broken bones, pain, and extreme fear of falling that impaired her daily activities. I have low bone mass and know from years of working in the field of women’s health that this disease is not well known by most women.

More must be done to raise awareness about osteoporosis. This is critical since successful prevention and treatment is possible. Most of us know about blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol screening, breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening. But do you know your risks of a broken bone or your “t” score?

The “t” score is an indicator of the strength or density of your bones. It is recommended that this painless screening test be done on all individuals 65 or older every two years. If you have significant risk factors, it should be done earlier. Prior to the age of 65, you can go on line and google FRAX and have your ten year risk of a fracture calculated.

To help you take action, the Georgia Commission on Women and partners are conducting a free virtual Women’s Wellness Summit that will address osteoporosis and a number of major women’s issues on June 12, 2021.  Go to for complete information about this free summit.

Try to answer the questions below and see if you need to attend!

Did You Know???

  • Osteoporosis affects 1 in every 2 women and 1 in every 4 men over 50?
  • Often the first symptom is a broken bone from something like a hug or a sneeze!
  • Less than 20% of patients with broken bones are scanned for underlying problems.
  • It’s the silent epidemic because a woman’s risk of breaking a hip due to osteoporosis is equal to her risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer combined!
  • Osteoporosis is the cause of pain, permanent disability and mortality.
  • A man over 50 is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.
  • Most people keep an eye on their blood pressure and cholesterol and such but do you know your ‘t’ score (which is a predictor of bone health.)
  • There are successful prevention tactics and therapeutic interventions.
  • Come learn about this silent epidemic on June 12, 2021 at the Georgia Commission on Women’s Wellness Summit.  For details go to:
  • The National Osteoporosis Foundation and American Bone Association have great information about osteoporosis.  Visit their websites as well as ours.
Georgia Wellness summit coming soon!
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