When mom told you to drink your milk, she knew what she was talking about. A lack of calcium is one factor that can lead to osteoporosis. In Health Plus, a local woman with brittle bones is battling the condition.
She enjoys outdoor activities, but even getting out of her can be painful for Dorothy Blocker. The 71-year-old La Porte City woman has osteoporosis.
"I like to do other things like gardening and stuff like that and I have to limit it to what I can do outside," she says.
Doctors say the disease that thins or weakens the bones hits forty percent of women over fifty. A lack of calcium and other minerals in your bones can cause it. And, sadly, once you hit 20--that's right, 20--your bone density starts to progressively weaken.
"You'll never be able to increase the density of your bones. You'll just preserve or minimize loss, thereafter," says Dr. Troy Renaud with Covenant Clinic in La Porte City.
Renaud says increasing your calcium intake and doing weight-bearing exercises can help. And that's been Dorothy's approach along with medication.
"There are multiple ways of treating osteoporosis. There's pills that you take once a day. There's pills you take once a week or even once a month. Also nasal sprays and there's now even a once-a-year IV treatment," says Renaud.
Dorothy had warnings signs--multiple fractures and a family history. But she encourages all women to get a bone density test--especially after menopause when they're more susceptible.
"Go to the doctor so they can go through the osteoporosis testing. That would help more than anything 'cause it does run in my family," says Blocker.
Her mother and sister are battling brittle bones, too. Doctors say all women over sixty-five and men over seventy should be screened for osteoporosis--but much younger if they have risk factors.