Many individuals are unaware of their risk for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, which is often referred to as a "silent disease," can result in painful and dangerous fractures, particularly after a fall. Since the condition has no symptoms, falls can be especially bad for people who are unaware they have low bone density.

LaVone Sopher, nurse practitioner with the Indian Hills Family Health Care Center Clinic, said there are 432,000 hospital admissions each year for osteoporosis-related injuries and 180,000 nursing home admissions, the Sioux City Journal reports.

"Probably in the line of 90 percent of hip fractures are due to osteoporosis and falls," said Sopher. "Twenty percent of people who have a hip fracture will die within the first one to two years after that. And a large percentage of them end up in nursing homes because they lose their mobility and independence."

The goal of healthcare organizations is early screening, especially for women at risk for undiagnosed osteoporosis. Fairly new tools, such as Dexa scanners and a math tool called FRAX, can make that job easier.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis in the U.S., according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
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