Osteoporosis is a common illness that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break. While it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated, tests and treatments are relatively simple and often effective.  So, let’s dive into the lesser-known facts about this common disease.

Half of all women will break bones due to osteoporosis: Women break bones at twice the rate of men. Of the 10 million living with osteoporosis, 80% are female.

Men make up 20% of osteoporosis patients: While osteoporosis is more often thought of as a women’s disease, men are still afflicted, 20% to be more exact. About 2 million American men currently live with osteoporosis. About 25% of men will experience osteoporosis-related bone fractures at some point, yet they are less likely to get tested and treated for osteoporosis.

Men or more likely to die from an osteoporosis fracture: Worldwide, one-third of all hip fractures occur in men, and up to 37% die in the first year after the fracture which is twice the mortality rate experienced by women.

Most older people who break bones aren’t tested for osteoporosis: Breaking bones is a common sign of osteoporosis, yet 80% of older Americans with fractures aren’t tested for the disease. Why? Lack of awareness by both patients and physicians and Medicare has cut reimbursement for osteoporosis, so fewer medical facilities are offering them. This results in millions of fewer scans provided and fewer diagnoses being given. 

A simple sneeze can break your bones with osteoporosis: Bones are so severely weakened with osteoporosis, that it doesn’t take much to break a bone. A minor fall from a standing position, a small bump on a table, or even a routine sneeze can break a bone for those suffering from advanced osteoporosis.

It’s never too soon to reduce the risk of osteoporosis: In childhood, your body adds most of the bones that we as adults have for our entire lifetime. At the age of 30, we are at peak bone mass, but as we age past 30, we start to lose bone each year. If kids increase their peak bone mass by 10%, they’ll cut their risk of osteoporosis fractures in adulthood by 50%. Nutritious meals and being physically active can help support this endeavor.

If you’re losing height, you might have osteoporosis: If you are losing more than a half-inch in a year, you should ask your doctor to check for osteoporosis. What else may indicate osteoporosis? A stooped posture and back pain could indicate underlying osteoporosis.

Limit your wrinkle cream: Too much vitamin A can put you at a higher risk for bone loss and fractures. Retinol, a product used to treat skin conditions, has vitamin A present in it. If you take vitamin A supplements, this could prevent vitamin D from reaching your bones effectively. It’s important to make sure that you are balancing your consumption of vitamins and supplements.

To learn more about osteoporosis and the best treatments for osteoporosis: