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Breaking Osteoporosis Myths: August 9, 2013

Considering the U.S. population is getting grayer each year, Americans could stand to bone up on their health.

“As our population ages and people are living longer and longer, osteoporosis is becoming more of a problem,” says Dr. Fletcher Reynolds, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

But as a health condition, osteoporosis is often misunderstood. So we’re breaking down bone myths- beginning with the belief that only women need to worry.

“There are two main types of osteoporosis. The first type occurs in postmenopausal women. The secondary type affects mainly older people, over 70 years old. And it affects men and women, but it affects women about twice as often as it affects men,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Another myth is that people can feel if their bones are becoming brittle. Not true. Kathleen Keidel found out the hard way.

“I’ve fallen and broken a wrist. I was 65 years old when I did that. That’s the first broken bone I’ve ever had. So that’s a little bit of a wake up call,” says Keidel.

Keidel busts another myth; that tests for osteoporosis hurt.

“I’ve had two already. Pretty painless it didn’t even take very long,” says Keidel.

It’s also wrong to think testing exposes you to a lot of radiation.

“DXA is the classic testing tool we use for osteoporosis. We use this dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, similar to x-ray technology to detect the density of your bone. But it uses much less radiation then a classic x-ray would,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Our final myth, taking extra calcium supplements, gives you extra protection. Not so. Your doctor can determine what may be right for you- boosting the amount, won’t give you the bone boost you’re after.