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Health Report: Osteoporosis Risk

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:07 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Broken bones are painful, but also in adults over 50 - more commonly in women - they can be a sign of a serious disease.

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones caused when the body’s bone loss outweighs production. According to Ejigayehu Abate, M.D. Endocrinology with the Mayo Clinic, “It’s a silent disease. You don’t know you have it until you break something, or you get screened for it.”

Dr. Abate says osteoporosis screenings should start between 50 and 55 years old. Developing healthy bones on the other hand should start early in life and include routine exercise and a diet rich in protein and calcium. “Anybody over the age of 50, unless you were told not to take calcium, needs about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, “ Dr. Abate explained. “That is a combined diet and supplement.”

For people with darker skin tones, vitamin D is another important factor, according to Dr. Abate. “Vitamin D is from the sun, and the darker your skin tone is, the less vitamin D reabsorbing - so that causes bone loss.”

When it comes to treating osteoporosis, the first thing health care professionals do is assess for the risk of breaking a bone. “That determines what type of medication I would recommend,” Dr. Abate said.

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