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Summer 2011

in this issue:

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Bone up on bone health Ask the doctor Did you know?

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It's all about what you can do for your bones! Bone bits

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Save the date About NYSOPEP

“Osteoporosis is more common among older adults, especially postmenopausal women.” Major risk factors

Do any of the following sentences describe you? You could be at risk.

✓ I am a woman older than 65 or

hot health topic

Women over 65 and men over 70 are more at risk of osteoporosis.

Bone up on bone health O

steoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become thin, weak, and break easily. You cannot feel or see your bones getting thinner. Although you can break a bone in any part of your body, the most common broken bones associated with osteoporosis are the spine, wrist, and hip. A broken bone can stop you from working and from doing things you enjoy.

Who is at risk?

Osteoporosis is more common among older adults, especially post-menopausal women. Having risk factors does not mean you will develop the disease or have a fracture, but if you answer yes to a number of the following characteristics, you should discuss testing your bone mineral levels with your doctor.

a man older than 70 ✓ I am white or Asian ✓ I am thin and small ✓ My parent has osteoporosis, stooped posture, loss of height, or has broken a bone as an adult ✓ I have broken a bone after age 50 ✓ I have lost more than 1½ inches of height ✓ I rarely exercise ✓ I rarely get enough calcium or vitamin D ✓ I smoke ✓ I have more than two drinks of alcohol a day on most days ✓ I take steroid medications ✓ I have rheumatoid arthritis ■ CLICK IT! Click on any underlined link to find out more.

bone health update


ask the doctor


What is a Bone Mineral Density Test? Is it safe?

bone mineral density test is an easy, reliable test that measures the density, or thickness, of your bones. The most standardized method to measure bone density is called a DXA test (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry), which is a low-level x-ray measuring important bone sites. It is painless, non-invasive, and takes about 10 minutes. The DXA test will report your bone density in numbers. Values are compared to others of the same age and gender (Z score) or to healthy 35-year-olds of the same gender who are felt to have attained peak bone mass (T score).


What does my DXA test score mean?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established criteria for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Individuals within one standard deviation of peak bone mass (T score) are considered to have normal bone density. If bone mass is between one and 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass (T score), osteopenia is diagnosed. If bone mass is 2.5 standard deviations below peak bone mass (T score), osteoporosis is diagnosed. If there is also a history of a fragility fracture, severe osteoporosis is diagnosed.

Exercise, which helps reduce bone loss, is an important part of osteoarthritis prevention.

Did you know?

Some lesser known facts about osteoporosis


n New York State alone, at least 3 million women and men (age 50 and over) either have osteoporosis or are at significant risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, about one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

costs each year.

Rising health care costs

A silent disease

By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis. In 2005, osteoporosis was responsible for an estimated two million fractures and $19 billion in costs. By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for approximately three million fractures and $25.3 billion in

Osteoporosis is considered a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences. Up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys, which makes youth the best time to build strong bones to last a lifetime. Osteoporosis can sneak up on you. You can’t feel your bones becoming weaker. You could have osteoporosis now or be at risk without realizing it. A bone mineral density test can tell if you have osteoporosis before you experience symptoms, such as breaking a bone. â–


It’s all about what you can do for your bones! Calcium and vitamin D Did you know that 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth? This calcium makes up your bone bank. Calcium is deposited and withdrawn from your bone bank daily, based on your body’s need for calcium. If your daily diet is low in calcium, calcium is withdrawn from your bone bank. Vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones. Your body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep bones strong and healthy. According the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), people with low levels of vitamin D have lower bone density or bone mass. They are also more likely to break.

How much calcium and vitamin D do I need? Everyone should consume the daily calcium intake appropriate for their age. Your calcium intake from food plus any calcium supplement should add up to the daily recommended calcium

CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D RECOMMENDATIONS Children & Adolescents 1 through 3 years 4 through 8 years 9 through 18 years

Adult Women & Men 19 through 49 years 50 years and over

Calcium (daily) 500 mg 800 mg 1,300 mg

Vitamin D (daily) 400 IU 400 IU 400 IU

Calcium (daily) 1,000 mg 1,200 mg

Vitamin D (daily) 400–800 IU 800–1,000 IU

intake (see chart above for recommendations).

Exercise and physical activity Physical activity at any time in your life is good for your heart, muscle tone, flexibility and coordination. In children and young adults, physical activity is necessary to build strong bones. After peak bone mass is reached (usually by age 25), exercise plays an important role in maintaining bone mass. In adulthood, physical activity can modestly increase bone mass, reduce bone loss, improve posture, promote balance to prevent falls, and increase muscle mass to cushion bones in the event of a fall.

IU=International Units


one healthy actions should begin in childhood and continue throughout your life. It is never too early or too late for you to take steps to have strong bones.

strengthening and balance exercises. Weight-bearing exercise is any physical activity in which your body works against gravity. It simply means that your feet and legs are supporting or carrying your weight. This type of exercise builds bone mass in youth and maintains it in adulthood. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, racquet sports, dancing, and climbing stairs. Muscle strengthening exercises build muscle that helps support your bones. Balance exercises may help to reduce your risk of falling. Tai Chi is an example of a balance type of exercise. ■

Exercises for strong bones An ideal program combines weight-bearing, muscle

bone bits DID YOU KNOW? Adults over 50 should consume between 800 and 1,000 IU of Vitamin D. —National Osteoporosis Foundation


bone health update


save the date NYSOPEP provides education about bone health to New Yorkers.

New York State Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Programs (NYSOPEP)


n 1997, Governor George Pataki signed the Osteoporosis Education Bill. This bill established NYSOPEP program within the New York State Department of Health. This educational initiative makes it possible for all New Yorkers (the general public and healthcare professionals) to learn about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. NYSOPEP

provides education about the causes of osteoporosis, the value of prevention and early detection and options for treatment. NYSOPEP information is accurate, current and research-based. Hospital for Special Surgery was selected as a NYSOPEP Regional Center to provide osteoporosis education as a service to the citizens of New York. ■


Nearly three million New Yorkers over age 50 have osteoporosis or are at significant risk of developing osteoporosis. May is also National Osteoporosis Prevention Month. “Maintaining strong bones should be a lifetime commitment,” said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. “Prevention through diet and exercise, along with early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the prevalence and debilitating affects of this disease.” ■

Design: Christina Fisher, MFA © 2011, Hospital for Special Surgery

about us The goal of NYSOPEP is to reduce the incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures, by providing a comprehensive program of public and professional education regarding the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. This publication is a collaborative effort between Hospital for Special Surgery and NYSOPEP. Visit


overnor David A. Paterson has designated May as Osteoporosis Prevention Month in New York State to remind all New Yorkers to protect their bone health.

Participating Centers Hudson Valley Regional & Coordinating Center Helen Hayes Hospital West Haverstraw, NY (845) 786-4772

Central SUNY Upstate Medical University Syracuse, NY (315) 464-5540, x 5721

Metro Hospital for Special Surgery New York, NY (212) 606-1057

Long Island Winthrop University Hospital Mineola, NY (516) 663-4776

Northeastern Glens Falls Hospital Glens Falls, NY (518) 926-5919 Western Osteoporosis Resource Center Buffalo, NY (716) 862-BONE (2663)

Questions or comments? Contact Robyn Wiesel, CHES, Program Coordinator, Public & Patient Education, Hospital for Special Surgery,

Bone Health - Summer 2011  

Inaugural issue of the NYSOPEP newsletter.