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The Silent Killer

Every year, more Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis—a disease that causes bones to weaken and become more likely to break. You may not know that you have this “silent” disease until your bones are so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes your wrist to break or your hip to fracture. Learn the facts so you can protect your bones!

A few of the biggest myths about osteoporosis are below.


Osteoporosis is a natural part of aging that only affects older women.


About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.


Bone loss can’t be treated once it starts.


Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are medicines that either (1) slow or stop bone loss or (2) rebuild bone.


Bone density tests are painful.


Testing for bone density is painless and only takes about fifteen minutes.

What are some of the things you can do to protect your bones?

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well-balanced diet.

  • Engage in regular exercise.

  • Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.

  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day.

Medicare can help you prevent or detect osteoporosis at an early stage, when treatment works best. Talk to your doctor about getting a bone mass measurement—if you’re at risk, Medicare covers this test once every 24 months (more often if medically necessary) when your doctor or other qualified provider orders it. This test is very quick and painless.

Learn more about what puts you at risk for osteoporosis and how to prevent, and treat it, at the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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