Young People Get Osteoporosis Too 

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Myths About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is not serious enough for me to worry about.
Osteoporosis is serious because it progressively and irreversibly weakens our bones to the point that any movement, even a bump or fall, can cause a painful, debilitating fracture of the hip, spine or other bones. Chronic pain and disability are lasting effects of osteoporosis which can permanently change the way you live, work and enjoy your free time. One frequent outcome to osteoporosis is hip fracture, which each year causes nearly as many deaths in the United States as all auto fatalities.

I'm a healthy person. I do the right things. I am not at risk.
Unfortunately, we can't feel how strong our bones are. That's why osteoporosis is called a "silent thief." Without knowing it, you could be losing your bone tissue, even if you think you're doing the right things, including exercise and eating a calcium-rich diet. Osteoporosis is increasingly widespread. One in two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 are at risk of developing fractures from osteoporosis and experiencing the loss of vitality and independence that accompany this disease.

I'm too young to worry about osteoporosis now.
It's never too early to prevent osteoporosis. Building strong bones and keeping them strong gives you a head start when bone loss occurs. The fact is that bone is a living, growing tissue which constantly rebuilds. Bone strength increases during our youth until "peak bone mass" is reached in our 20's or early 30's. After that time all of us gradually lose bone mass because more bone tissue is removed than generated. When bone loss is excessive, such as when women lose the protective effects of estrogen following menopause, osteoporosis may develop. This is why women are at greater risk for osteoporosis and the fractures that result from it.

It's too late for me to do anything about osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is defined as excessive loss of bone tissue. Bones break when they become too thin and too weak. Fortunately, it's never too late to take steps to slow or stop the further loss of bone. The time to detect osteoporosis is now before so much bone is lost that debilitating fractures occur. If you. are diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor can prescribe a diet and exercise program tailored to your needs. There are also several medications currently available to prevent further bone loss and help you preserve an active lifestyle and avoid the consequences of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is inflamed bone, so if I have it, I will be stiff and sore.
Osteoporotic bones are weak and brittle, not inflamed. Even if you have osteoporosis, you may feel no pain at all.

Osteoporosis is a rare disease.
Osteoporosis is more common than breast or ovarian cancer. And in postmenopausal women, it's as common as heart disease.

Osteoporosis isn't dangerous or life-threatening.
Hip fractures, which can be caused by osteoporosis, are one of the two top causes of death for older women.

Osteoporosis is a "woman's disease." Men don't need to worry about osteoporosis.
While men are not as likely to develop osteoporosis, men can suffer hip, spinal, and other fractures, too. Men who have taken steroids
have abused alcohol, or have reduced testosterone (a male hormone) levels are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

I am too young (or too old) to worry about osteoporosis.
The younger you start worrying about osteoporosis and taking steps to prevent it, the better off you'll be. Eat right, exercise, and get
plenty of calcium. But even if you haven't done anything about it yet, it's not too late. You can slow bone loss by taking care of yourself;
talk to your doctor if you're unsure how to get started.

I get enough calcium, so I don't need to worry about osteoporosis.
If you're getting enough calcium, you've taken a big step toward preventing osteoporosis, but it's not the only step. You need to do
weight-bearing exercise and talk to your doctor about any other preventive measures you can take.

Osteoporosis is an old lady's disease
Women in their twenties and thirties can get osteoporosis. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. Prolonged use of steroid medications,
lengthy periods of eating disorders combined with excessive exercise can increase the risk of osteoporosis.  It is also estimated that two million men
 have osteoporosis, many of whom go untreated. To keep a perspective, a man is more likely to suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture during
his lifetime than he is to get prostate cancer

Osteoporosis is a normal part of aging
Cross-cultural studies show that throughout the world most individuals lose bone mass as they age. The remaining bone, however, is usually strong
 enough to support the stresses and strains of daily activity. The bone remains healthy and capable of constant self-repair.  The bone loss of osteoporosis
 goes beyond that of normal aging. It is an abnormal condition in which the bones become excessively thin due to loss of mineral and lose their capacity
 for self-repair.


Soda can harm your bones by interfering with calcium absorption
You may have read that the phosphorus in carbonated beverages interferes with calcium absorption, but this belief is a myth.  Calcium absorption can
indeed suffer if you consume too much phosphorus.  That is because both calcium and phosphorus require vitamin D for proper absorption.  An excess
of phosphorus means that less vitamin D is available for processing calcium, so calcium absorption is reduced.

Although soda is a negligible source of phosphorus in the typical American diet.  Most sodas have no phosphorus at all, and even those that do contain
phosphorus have modest amounts compared to other common foods.

The real cause for concern about soda is that some people--especially children and teenagers--drink soda instead of milk, and as a result they don't
consume enough calcium.


After menopause, women can prevent osteoporosis by consuming more calcium
Extra calcium can help build strong bones if women are premenopausal, but the lone act of increasing calcium consumption has never shown to increase
bone density or prevent fractures in older women. Vitamin D is necessary as well to compliment the calcium. The combination has dramatic effects: bone
density increases significantly and fractures are reduced by 50 percent.

Weight-bearing exercise is another important factor for maintaining bone density. In a study conducted by researchers at Tufts University, women
 between the ages of 50 to 70 who strength-trained twice a week gained an average of 1 percent in their bone density while their counterparts who
did not exercise lost about 2 percent of their bone density

Nelson, Miriam E. and Wernick, Sarah (2006).  " Strong Women, Strong Bones: everything you need to know to prevent, treat and beat osteoporosis" pp 240-241

Young People Get Osteoporosis Too Organization
Copyright © 2001  All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/11/08.