5 Common Osteoporosis Myths, Debunked

5 Common Osteoporosis Myths, Debunked

Find out the facts about your bone health.

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By Katie Eaker

Even though more than 50 million Americans have osteoporosis or low bone mass that puts them at risk for osteoporosis, many myths and misconceptions surround the disease—and prevent people from seeking the care they need.

Read on to get the facts—and debunk the myths—about osteoporosis.

It’s just part of getting older

2 / 6 It’s just part of getting older

Osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a natural part of aging. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), exercise paired with a calcium and vitamin D-rich diet is vital to making kids’ bones strong, but you’re never to old to adopt healthy habits that contribute to bone health.

While it’s true that you lose bone density as you age, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop the condition. 

It’s a problem for older white women

3 / 6 It’s a problem for older white women

While age, sex and race do play a part in terms of risk, people of all ages need to be vigilant about their bone health.

According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, although the overall prevalence of fragility fractures is higher in women, men generally have higher rates of fracture related mortality.

You can’t prevent osteoporosis

4 / 6 You can’t prevent osteoporosis

To the contrary, there are ways adults can lower their risk, starting with exercise. According to NOF, weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises in particular help keep bones strong. High impact weight-bearing exercises would include jogging, dancing and tennis. Low impact—which can be easier on the joints—include walking or working out on an elliptical machine. Easy yoga moves and lifting weights—even light ones—can help build strength. Other prevention tactics: Get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, and don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol, both of which up your risk.

It’s not a serious condition

5 / 6 It’s not a serious condition

If you have osteoporosis, sometimes you don’t know how bad it is—or even realize you have it—until you take a fall and suffer a break or fracture. When you’re older that can spell big trouble: Approximately 1 in 10 people who suffer a hip fracture don’t recover to the point where they can live independently, performing everyday functions like shopping and cooking. Twice that many people need the care of a nursing home.

Genes don’t matter

6 / 6 Genes don’t matter

Some risk factors for osteoporosis can be controlled, like diet and exercise. But some people are genetically more susceptible to osteoporosis than others. Other factors beyond your control include age, sex, race, taking certain medications for chronic conditions and a history of fractures.