Health Plus: Osteoporosis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Osteoporosis

Ten million people reportedly have osteoporosis.

Eight out of ten are women.

In Health Plus, what one eastern Iowan did to prevent bone weakness from slowing her down.

Cheryl Schwake walks for exercise.

But stress fractures in her feet made that challenging.

"I ended up with orthotics to walk with which took care of the stress fracture problem," says Cheryl.

Cheryl had a bone density screening.

The test can identify osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bone strength and thickness.

"Most of the time none of us know that we have low calcium in our bones, that we're at risk for having a fracture until we have one. So a bone density test can tell us if we are running a risk," says Lisa Walker, center supervisor.

Covenant's Comprehensive Breast Center in Waterloo offers the most accurate test available for detecting bone diseases.

"Most of the time you can do things on your own and not necessarily have to take a prescription but in the event that you do, there are several different options ranging from a daily medication to weekly, monthly, even now there's one you can do once a year," says Lisa.

DEXA, as it's called, is a dual-energy x-ray scan that uses only a small amount of radiation.

The results help patients like 65-year-old Cheryl take pro-active steps to prevent more bone loss.

"I do calcium. I've become a milk drinker which I never was before so that took care of it, I think," she says.

Insurance should cover the DEXA scan if for women you're past menopause and for men you have a family history of osteoporosis.

Interestingly, men over 50 are more likely to break a bone from osteoporosis than to get prostate cancer.

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