Top 4 Bone-Health Myths—Set Straight!
Don’t let these common misconceptions stand between you and strong bones!
Myth #1: I don’t have bone pain, so I can’t possibly have osteoporosis.
Fact: Osteoporosis is often a silent disease; you may not be aware of severe bone loss until you’ve had a fracture. And it’s easy to miss the two most common signs of a spine fracture: a change in posture or a loss in height. So ask your healthcare provider what you can do to prevent bone loss, including how often you need to have your bone density checked with a DXA scan, a painless X-ray of the hip and spine.
Myth #2: The side effects of osteoporosis medications are too risky.
Fact: For most people, the benefits of medication far outweigh any risk. There’s been some concern about bisphosphonates, particularly a slight risk of an unusual fracture to the femur (thighbone). Although this is a serious side effect, it’s still rare: The latest data show that a femur fracture occurs in only about 1 out of 1,000 patients, typically after long treatment periods (more than 5 years). But you can help guard against side effects by seeing your healthcare provider regularly.
Myth #3: Osteoporosis is a problem only for older women.
Fact: Although white and Asian women are at greatest risk, men and women of all ages and ethnic groups can develop it. African Americans are more likely to have lupus, sickle cell anemia and kidney disease, which increase the odds of bone loss. And the prevalence of osteoporosis in Hispanic women is close to that of white and Asian women.
Myth #4: I’ve already had a fracture, so it’s too late to build new bone.
Fact: Not true! Treatment has come a long way. It’s now possible to stop—even reverse—bone loss. We know that with exercise, medications, calcium and vitamin D, even people who’ve had a fracture can strengthen their bones and reduce the risk of another break.