1 in 4 Senior Women in U.S. Has Osteoporosis: CDC

About 6 percent of men aged 65 or older also have the bone-thinning condition, report finds

WebMD News from HealthDay

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The weakening bones of osteoporosis greatly raise a person's odds for dangerous fractures, and a new report finds that one-quarter of all American women aged 65 or older suffer from the condition.

Close to 6 percent of men in this age group also have osteoporosis, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts weren't surprised, and said more must be done to test for and treat the loss of bone density that often comes with age.

Osteoporosis and its precursor condition -- osteopenia (low bone mass) -- "is not just a problem for the 80-year-old individual, but starts to become an issue for many adults in their 50s and 60s," said Dr. Saad Chaudhary, a spine surgeon at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

In the study, Anne Looker and Steven Frenk, of the CDC's Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Statistics, examined 2005-2010 data from a major federal government health survey.

The investigators reported that more than 16 percent of all American seniors -- about 25 percent of women and nearly 6 percent of men -- have full-blown osteoporosis as evidenced on bone density tests of the spine and hip.

The numbers rise even higher when the data involves osteopenia, where bone loss is already apparent but hasn't reached the stage of osteoporosis. In that case, almost half (48 percent) of seniors -- more than 52 percent of women and 44 percent of men -- had osteopenia, the data showed.

Of course, rates of osteoporosis rose with age -- about 26 percent of adults aged 80 or older had the condition. But the CDC team also noted that almost 13 percent of all adults between 65 and 79 years of age had osteoporotic bones.

In terms of demographics, Mexican-American seniors had the highest rate of osteoporosis (almost 25 percent), while blacks had the lowest rate (a little more than 10 percent), the report found.

Chaudhary stressed that much of this bone loss could be prevented.

"We reach our peak bone mineral density in adolescence and then must work conscientiously to maintain that through activity, a balanced diet, and consultation with health care providers," he said.


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