As people age, they become more likely to develop osteoporosis. It‘s a disease that occurs when bones lose density and mass. This can cause bones to become weak and easily broken. It’s important to monitor your bone health. But what else should you know? Here are answers to some common questions about osteoporosis.
How common is osteoporosis?
An estimated 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass. This means they have an increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies suggest that half of women and a quarter of men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Should I get tested? How is it diagnosed?
Talk to your doctor about testing and whether you are at risk. You may need a bone mineral density (BMD) test like a DEXA scan. BMD tests can identify osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs and measure how you respond to treatment.
Does Medicare cover these tests?
Medicare plans cover the full cost of bone mass measurement testing once every 24 months for people who meet certain criteria. The test may be covered more often if deemed medically necessary.
What else should I know?
There is no one single way to ensure healthy bones. But there are some great habits that can put you on the right path. Here are some tips:
- Incorporate calcium and vitamin D into your diet
- Avoid smoking and drinking
- Exercise often
- Take steps to minimize your risk of falls