Your bones are the foundation of your body. Just like in a house, a weak foundation can cause a host of problems. Weak bones are known as osteoporosis. Check out these osteoporosis myths and facts to learn how to keep your foundation strong.
Myth or fact? Weak bones are more easily broken.
FACT: “Osteoporosis reduces bone strength and quality, which increases your risk for bone fractures,” says Kim Clabbers, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon at Holy Redeemer Health System. Compared with women age 60-plus who have normal bone strength, those who have osteoporosis are three times more likely to suffer a bone fracture, according to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Myth or fact? You need to watch out for osteoporosis symptoms.
MYTH: “Osteoporosis often has no symptoms until you break a bone. The best way to detect the condition is with a bone density screening,” says Dr. Clabbers. “The test is quick and painless.” The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women ages 65 and older have an osteoporosis screening. Some women may need to be screened earlier. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors.
Myth or fact? Men don’t need to worry about osteoporosis.
MYTH: The disease is more common in women, but men can have it, too. Osteoporosis affects about 16 percent of women and 4 percent of men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the rate of fragility-related fractures in men is expected to triple by 2050.
Myth or fact? You need more calcium as you age to prevent osteoporosis.
FACT: After menopause, women should up their calcium intake to 1,200 mg a day, from 1,000 mg. Get calcium from foods such as low-fat dairy products, spinach, broccoli, and salmon.
“Take care of your body’s foundation now, and you could prevent fractures later on,” says Dr. Clabbers.
The percentage of older U.S. adults with low bone mass, according to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. This puts you at risk for osteoporosis. You may be at risk if you went through menopause before age 45, smoke, or do not exercise. Talk with your doctor if this describes you.