Osteoporosis shows no early symptoms as it begins creeping into the bodies of men and women during mid-life, but it can be prevented, according to a specialist in bone disease at the University of California San Francisco.
"We have all seen an older person at the shopping center who is bent over and cannot stand up straight because of a curve in the upper back. This is one of the most visible, everyday reminders of this bone-weakening disease associated with aging, but the good news is with our current medical understanding, we really do have the opportunity to turn it around or slow it down," says Nancy E. Lane, M.D., UCSF associate professor of medicine who treats patients at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.
People with osteoporosis have fragile bones that are very susceptible to fractures. An activity as mild as coughing can sometimes make the spinal vertebrae break, causing a person to become hunched over and in severe cases, to develop a noticeable hump in the back over several years and to lose several inches in height.
In a new book that she authored, The Osteoporosis Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families, Lane outlines the life cycle of bone, how osteoporosis develops, who is at risk, and how the disease is diagnosed, treated, and prevented.
Organized as an educational guide, the book includes a summary of key points at the end of each chapter, profiles of typical patients to help readers identify themselves, steps to reduce risks, and sources for additional information, including newsletters and cookbooks.
"My goal was to present user-friendly information that will help the current generation of men and women, and the next generation, to all stand tall," Lane says.
Most people think of osteoporosis as a woman's disease because it does affect
more women than men but, regardless of gender, it can severely influence quality
of life, she emphasizes. About 25 million Americans suffer from osteopo
Contact: Corinna Kaarlela
University of California - San Francisco