As reported by Examiner.com, October 19, 2009.

Osteoporosis Day: Rating Your Risk

By Diana Duel

Osteoporosis affects as many as 20 million people in the United States, the majority being postmenopausal women experiencing estrogen deficiency contributing to their loss of bone mass. What is truly shocking is the fact that almost 12 percent of Connecticut's female population is considered to be at the highest risk, second only to those in Hawaii, according to a report made in 2008.

Dr. Pamela Taxel, an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine noted at the time that  the results did not  surprise her, given the fact that "Connecticut has an aging population."  She also emphasized the fact that women are at a higher risk of bone fractures as they get older, and that all those over the age of 65 should be made aware of the need for bone density testing. "Those who've even had fractures already, they're the ones that absolutely must be evaluated for osteoporosis to determine if they're other causes for bone thinning and fracture risks that have yet to be identified."

The disease, however, can affect anyone at any age suffering from severe lack of calcium, as well as the inability for some to absorb sufficient amounts of calcium through their intestines or who are severely lactose intolerant. It has also been found that the following characteristics can increase some women's risk for developing bone loss:

  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Having a diet that is low in calcium, but high in phosporus
  • Are thin and small boned
  • Have a fair complexion
  • Had early onset (natural) menopause
  • Have never been pregnant
  • Have had your ovaries removed
  • Regularly use anti-seizure medications, cortisone or anticoagulants
  • Have chronic liver or kidney disease
  • Have over active endocrine glands 
  • Smoke
  • Drink excessive amounts of coffee, tea or colas
  • Are alcoholic
  • Do not exercise and are generally physically inactive

If you have any concerns regarding any of the above factors and how they might affect your bone loss, be sure to consult with your physician as soon as possible.

For more information on how osteoporosis can affect your body, please refer to the article Battling Brittle Bones posted on June 29, 2009. You can also learn more about bone density testing by contacting the UConn Center for Osteoporosis 860-679-2160 or 1-800-535-6232.