Learn all you can about bone loss during National Osteoporosis Week (May 11-17) Advertisement Women past menopause are at risk for osteoporosis. The good news is you can protect your future. After menopause, most women experience bone loss which can eventually lead to osteoporosis. In fact, it's estimated that there are 20 million women in America today with osteoporosis. Yet, relatively few have been diagnosed or treated. It's important to know that many effects of bone loss are silent. So you must do everything you can now to secure a healthier future. Start by talking to your doctor or other healthcare professional and reading the following information. what is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more porous, gradually making them weaker and more brittle. When osteoporosis sets in, bones thin out and become fragile, making them more likely to break. As the disease progresses, fractures can occur, especially in the spine (or backbone), wrists and hip bones. what causes it? Osteoporosis is caused by an imbalance in the bone- building cycle, where too much bone is broken down and not completely rebuilt. The single most important factor contributing to this imbalance is menopause, when decreasing levels of estrogen speed up bone loss. It is when this bone loss becomes severe that a person has osteoporosis. who's at risk? Women who have gone through menopause are most at risk. Most prone to bone loss are women with a family history of osteoporosis, Caucasian women and Asian women, and women who are thin or small-boned. Other factors that may contribute to risk include: • smoking • too much alcohol • too little exercise • too little calcium (now or as a child) • a previous broken bone that resulted from a minor injury • certain medications, such as steroids (commonly used to treat asthma and arthritis) and thyroid hormone (if the dose is too high) • early menopause (before age 45) What can yOU do? If you are over 50 and postmenopausal, take the Bone Loss Risk Assessment on the following page to help determine where you stand and whether you need further evaluation by your doctor. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, ask your doctor about treatment options and ways to keep your bones as healthy and strong as possible. Complete this LOSS Risk Assessment. If you're a woman past the age of 50 and postmenopausal, take a moment to complete the following questions. We'll help you determine if you need further evaluation by your doctor, and send you important information about osteoporosis. So complete and return this assessment to: Merck & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 14903, RTF, NC 27709-9611 today. Or, if you prefer, call 1-800-470-6444 to take this assessment over the phone. Name/Title. Address Apt. City. State Zip. Phone number ( 1 What is your current age? .years 2 What is your race or ethnic group? African American/Black American Q Caucasian Q Hispanic Q Asian Q Native American/American Indian Other Q The following questions that we 7 Have you been diagnosed with osteoporosis? Yes Q No Q 8 Are you currently taking calcium? Yes Q No Q 9 Have you experienced a loss of height? Yes Q No Q Cut along the dotted line, and return. 3 Have you ever been treated for or told you have rheumatoid arthritis? Yes Q No Q 4 Since the age of 45, have you experienced a fracture (broken bone) at any of the following sites? Hip Yes Q No Q Rib Yes Q No Q Wrist Yes Q No Q 5 Do you currently take or have you ever taken estrogen? (Examples include Premarin, Estrace, Estraderm and Estratab). Yes Q No Q 6 What is your current weight? pounds are to help us better tailor the information will send you in the mail. 10 I consider myself more knowledgeable than the average person about things related to health. Yes Q No Q 11 When I have a medical problem or symptom I try not to think about it and hope it just goes away. Yes Q No Q Complete and return your assessment to: Merck & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 14903, RTP, NC 27709-9611. Or if you prefer to take this assessment over the phone, Call 1-800-470-6444.
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