Photo: Getty Images
Although I am not yet 50 years old, that pivotal age in life is slowly creeping up on me. That is the age where I suspect many people take stock of their health and begin to assess what risks associated with age may soon begin to knock on their doors. Bear in mind, I am not overly concerned. When you have a 106-year-old grandma who is practically the picture of health, thoughts of disease and chronic illness don’t necessarily take up residence in your mind. I have always lived with the positive thoughts that I am healthy, well, and of sound body and mind, although the latter is always up for debate!
In doing my usual research for articles related to bones and joints, I came across an interesting article that speaks to the new screening guidelines for osteoporosis, and I wanted to share those with you in this forum. If you are 50 or are approaching that intersection in life, this might be of interest to you.
When you think of weak, brittle bones, images of an older, stooped-over lady may come to mind. However, younger women are at just as much risk as those ladies who are in the afternoons of their lives. Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a part of the government’s agency for health care research and quality, released new recommendations that indicated women as young as age 50 who have high risk factors for osteoporosis should get tested for the disease. Previous guidelines supported by this task force back in 2002 suggested women with risk factors wait until age 60 to get screened.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation alerted us to the fact that 10 million Americans suffer from this disease and an alarming 34 million are at risk. In fact, in a given year, there are 1.5 million fractures reported that are related to osteoporosis. These statistics cost the health care system nearly $18 billion.
Osteoporosis can be so devastating on one’s bones that even a simple bout of coughing and bending over while doing so can cause a bone to fracture.
Most evidence relating to this disease suggests that all women age 65 and older should be screened for osteoporosis.