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Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

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Welcome to my site!   My name is Leslie, I am 37  years old and I have osteoporosis. I was initially diagnosed with it ten years ago after suffering multiple compression fractures, and my life has never been the same since because of it. Before kidney problems and osteoporosis forced me to stop working, I worked as a pediatric nurse at Children's Hospital.

I  hope to turn my negative experience into a positive one by launching this website and sharing my story with the public.  I know firsthand how devastating this disease can be so I would like to create awareness about the importance of early detection because the tendency is to think of osteoporosis as an old person's disease.  People don't realize it's an epidemic that reaches both men and women of all ages. I am focused on making public appeals to deliver a message that "the only cure for osteoporosis is prevention."  I sincerely hope that my website and support group will help to build bridges of communication that will eliminate the isolation of osteoporosis; and to provide a crucial source of information and emotional assistance for those struggling with this debilitating disease. 

I am concerned about the possibility of experiencing more fractures in the future; as I am well aware of how easy it is for an osteoporosis patient to fracture, but I do not want to live the rest of my life in fear.  I do not want to stop living my life and discontinue doing things I did before I had osteoporosis, because if I did it would mean that I relinquished control of my life to this debilitating disease.

 Osteoporosis is a silent, debilitating disease that affects 28 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. It causes bones to become thin and fragile without warning, robbing individuals of their independence, mobility, and self-esteem.  Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis is not just a disease of old people, and if preventable steps are not taken, bone loss occurs earlier in life, long before symptoms of the disease. Twenty-eightmillion people are affected by osteoporosis, and left unchecked, that number is predicted to increase to 41 million by the year 2015.

With osteoporosis, bones are thin and weak.  There are usually no symptoms.  That's why osteoporosis is often called a "silent disease."  Without treatment, bones become so weak that just bending over or coughing can cause pain or even a broken bone.  Breaking the first bone makes it much more likely that you'll break more bones later on.

Osteoporosis is different from most other diseases or common illnesses in that there is no one single cause. The overall health of a person's bones is a function of many things ranging from how well the bones were formed as a youth, to the level of exercise the bones have seen over the years. During the first 20 years of life, the formation of bone is the most important factor, but after that point it is the prevention of bone loss which becomes most important. Anything which leads to decreased formation of bone early in life, or loss of bone structure later in life will lead to osteoporosis and fragile bones which are subject to fracture. 

"Too often, patients believe once they have osteoporosis or a fracture, there is nothing they can do to protect their bones," said Judith Cranford, NOF's Executive Director. "There are steps that can be taken at any age to prevent and treat osteoporosis." A healthy diet, weight-bearing exercise, not smoking or drinking excessively, and bone mineral density testing and medications for osteoporosis can prevent or slow osteoporosis, and help bones to stay strong."

Living with Osteoporosis
Many people believe that a diagnosis of osteoporosis is the end of their life as they know it, but it is not.  In the beginning an individual is sure to feel overwhelmed by the disease but with time and patience we adapt to the changes that the disease makes in our lives. Living with a debilitating disease like osteoporosis may be difficult at times but I am doing it as are many other osteoporosis sufferers.  Osteoporosis has taught me many valuable life lessons, the most important one being to never take the simple things for granted like having the ability to walk freely on your own.

Living with a Disability-- written by a fellow osteoporosis sufferer
Butterfly1p2In regards to you living a satisfactory and normal life with a disability, I would like you to know and be assured that it is accomplished every day.  I have had a lifelong disability, and have been in a wheelchair for my life, and I'm very happy. Living with a disability is not only about accomplishing the things you used to do, but learning to accomplish them in different ways. It is also a frame of mind, a mindset that accepts your disability as a part of who you are. You cannot mourn who you thought you would be for the rest of your life. If you do, you will never overcome the challenges you are presented with living with a disability.

Often times people think in terms of what other people project upon us.  But I was never taught to be concerned about what other people think of me when what they are thinking is of a negative nature.  Instead I was always taught to make the best of my situation, whether that situation is disability related or not.  I only want to instill in other people the belief that they matter and are of importance.  We, who are disabled, have a very special gift and responsibility.  That gift is the ability to see beyond ourselves and that responsibility is to educate others in who we are as people despite our disabilities.  Life is certainly worth living and exploring.

National Osteoporosis Society
Offers support and advice to people with the condition, their families and caregivers. They operate a national telephone helpline  between 10am-5pm, Monday and 9.30am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, call   0-845-450-0230

 

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Copyright 2002 Young People Get Osteoporosis Too
Last modified: 03/11/2008 07:23 PM