5 Habits To Build Stronger Bones

woman flexing arm strongOsteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease characterized by low bone mass, which makes bones fragile and susceptible to fracture. It is known as “the silent disease” because symptoms and pain do not appear until a fracture occurs.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 34 million Americans have osteoporosis. Another 18 million have low bone mass and are at an increased risk for the disease. Osteoporosis is common among the elderly, but the disease can strike at any age.

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Although it is more common in older women, men can also have osteoporosis. One of every 2 women and 1 in every 4 men older than 50 years of age will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime.

There is a misconception that osteoporosis only affects white women. Although African American women tend to have higher bone mineral density (BMD) than white women throughout life, they are still at a significant risk of developing osteoporosis. This misconception leads to a delay in care for African American women. It is stated that five percent of African American women older than 50 have osteoporosis. Recent research shows that even among women who are known to have risk factors for osteoporosis, few are screened for the disease.

Speaking from my clinical experience, It is important for everyone, especially African American women, to get screened for osteoporosis. African American women are at higher risk due to the fact that they are more likely than white women to die and have complications following an osteoporosis-related hip fracture.