Do you know someone older who accidentally bumped their arm and ended up needing a sling? This type of injury could have been caused by osteoporosis. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, and 34 million more have low bone mass. Osteoporosis means your bones have lost density or mass. As your bones become less dense, they become weaker.
People can’t feel their bones getting weaker. So, you may not know that you have osteoporosis until you break a bone. A person with osteoporosis can fracture a bone from a minor fall, or in serious cases, from a simple action such as a sneeze.
While people of all ages and backgrounds can develop osteoporosis, you’re at higher risk if you’re:
- Older than 50
- Small in body size
- Eat a diet low in calcium
- Not physically active
- A post-menopausal woman
Medicare can help you prevent or detect osteoporosis at an early stage, when treatment works best. Talk to your doctor about getting a bone mass measurement–it may be free.
Also, take steps to keep your bones healthy. Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day, and do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month—learn more about what puts you at risk for osteoporosis and how to prevent or treat it at the National Osteoporosis Foundation or the Centers for Disease Control. Also, watch our short YouTube video about Medicare’s efforts to curb osteoporosis.