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Feel It in Your Bones

May 24, 1999

May is National Osteoporosis Month. Here are some facts about the disease, which is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which leads to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to hip, spine and wrist fractures.

* It's a major public health threat for an estimated 28 million Americans, 80% of whom are women. In the U.S., 10 million people have the disease and 18 million have low bone mass, putting them at risk for osteoporosis.

* One in two women and one in eight men older than 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture.

* Significant risk has been reported in all ethnic backgrounds.

* Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually:

--300,000 hip;

--700,000 vertebrae of the


--250,000 wrist;

--300,000 other sites.

* Women can lose up to 20% of their bone mass in the five to seven years after menopause, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis.

* A woman's risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

* An average of 24% of hip fracture patients 50 and older die in the year following their fracture.


Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation

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