By: Jessica ASpiras Email
By: Jessica ASpiras Email

83-year-old Doras Friedell is undergoing a bone density scan. It's to determine whether or not she has osteoporosis.

"A bone in the top of my foot is somewhat fractured. And she thought it would be a good idea."

She would be, rheumatologist, Dr. Carol Beals.

"As we get older and we don't have that infrastructure, then the bones can fracture - where if you have a hip fracture 25 percent die from complications within the first year."

Friedell just began taking calcium supplements a year ago. Had she started years earlier and continued until now, her chances of osteoporosis would have been slim.

"We develop bone until we're about 30. But as you know, our habits of taking calcium and vitamin D now and in the teenage years and 20's is not high," says Dr. Beals.

The recommended daily intake of calcium can vary. In kids, it should be 800-900 milligrams, menstruating women 1,000-1,200 mg, menopausal women 1,500 mg, and men 1,000-1,200mg.

"It's much more common in men than we realize. But it's not diagnosed because men really don't go to have their bone density done," says Dr. Beals.

The bone density scan takes less than seven minutes. It's the only way to test for osteoporosis.

"The bone density is the way of actually measuring the amount of calcium per square centimeter of bone," says rheumatologist Dr. Justus Fiechtner.

"The risk factors are under 127 lbs., greater than 65 years old, people that have chronic illnesses, people who smoke, actively smoke," says Dr. Beals.

They're factors that are not entirely controllable. Still it's a disease that's highly preventable.

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