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With early detection, it may be possible to prevent broken bones due to osteoporosis. Evaluate your risk by reviewing the common risk factors and determine which ones apply to you. The more risk factors, the greater the risk for osteoporosis. Some risks can be reduced or eliminated.

In order to measure Bone Density, a measurement is taken from the heel, on this state-of-art machine. The bone sonometry sends an ultrasonic sound wave through the heel bone. As the sound wave travels from one side to the other, the wave is changed by the internal structure and content of the bone. Normal bone has a higher measurement than bone with osteoporosis. The greater the connectivity in the honeycomb-like structure of the bone, the faster the sound wave will pass through it. As bone becomes osteoporosic, this honeycomb weakens and begins to fail, and the speed of the sound wave slows down. These changes in the absorption and speed of the sound wave are changed into measurements of the strength of the bone, which can be compared to reference (normal) values based on race, age, and sex.

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and increase in fracture risk. Osteoporosis affects 1.4 million Canadians. One in four women over the age of 50, and one in eight men over the age of 50 has the disease. Every year in Canada, the disease is responsible for more than 25,000 hip fractures alone. As many as one in five of the 25,000 die in a hospital within the year of the accident. Early diagnosis is critical. Treatments are available which can slow or stop bone loss and in some cases rebuild bone.

We begin developing our skeleton in-utero, and it rapidly increases in size throughout childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. It reaches its maximum size and density (known as peak bone mass) somewhere between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. Over her life time a woman may lose 38 percent of her peak bone mass, while a man may lose 23 percent. Each day over 300mg of calcium is dissolved from our bones. Over a years time 20 percent of our adult bone mass is recycled and replaced as our bones continually undergo breakdown and renewal in response to the overall needs of our bodies. If more minerals are taken out than replaced, the end result is low bone mass leading to Osteoporosis.

It is estimated that the national cost for treating osteoporotic fractures in Canada exceeded $1.3 billion in 1993. These costs are expected to increase dramatically as the baby boom population ages. Estimates are that the costs will reach $32.5 billion over the next 25 years (2018).

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