Make no bones about it, the bone disease known as osteoporosis is no laughing matter. In fact, doctors say if untreated it can be very painful. Dr. Miyako McCloud is a physician at Rush Senior Health Center in Meridian.
"I think the biggest thing people need to know is that anybody can be susceptible or at risk for osteoporosis," said McCloud.
And that includes men. Although osteoporosis is commonly thought to affect Caucasian or Asian women over age 35, McCloud said other minorities and even men are also at risk.
So, what exactly is osteoporosis? McCloud says it's basically the thinning of the bones, especially those which bear most of the body's weight such as the in the back and hip areas.
Aside from having a family history of the disease, she says one main cause is the decline in calcium levels in the body after age 35. It's a condition that can lead to easy breaks and fractures.
"Because the density of the bone is such that it's almost like paper," McCloud said.
These fractures and breaks are sometimes slow to heal or never heal. However, help is available.
Aside from calcium supplements, there is a non-invasive screening test which can be done to see if you have osteoporosis. It takes less than 20 minutes and medication is not used.
No bones about it, McCloud says, as with most disorders, the earlier you catch osteoporosis, the better.