Your bone health may be at risk. By 2020 half of all Americans over 50 will have weak bones unless we make changes to our diet and lifestyle. People who have weak bones are at higher risk for fractures. Americans are living longer, and this means that our bones need to stay strong so we can be active and enjoy life. Strong bones begin in childhood. With good habits and medical attention when needed, we can have strong bones throughout our lives.
Thirty years ago, little was known about bone disease. Even many doctors believed that weak and broken bones were just a part of old age and could not be avoided. Today we know that this is not true.
The Surgeon General wants you to know that you can improve your bone health by getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and physical activity. If you have osteoporosis or another bone disease, your doctor can detect and treat it. This can help prevent painful fractures. If you break a bone after the age of 50, this could be the first sign of weak bones.
Weak Bones Hurt Us All
Broken bones are very painful at any age. Each year 1.5 million older people in this country suffer fractures because their bones have become weak. For older people, weak bones can be deadly.
If you are elderly, a broken hip makes you up to four times more likely to die within three months. If you survive, the injury often causes your health to spiral downward. One in five people with a hip fracture ends up in a nursing home within a year. Many others become isolated, depressed, or frightened to leave home because they fear they will fall.
The cost of weak bones to Americans, their families, and our country is huge. The medical expense for treating broken bones from osteoporosis is as high as $18 billion each year. The cost of care for these patients and the work that is lost adds billions more.
Caring for bone fractures from osteoporosis costs America $18 billion each year.
$18 billion is a stack of dollar bills 1,119 miles high, or farther than the distance from New York to St. Louis, Missouri.
Why Healthy Bones Are Important to You