You know that old saying when your intuition is telling you something is wrong, “I can feel it in my bones”? All too frequently, when it comes to osteoporosis disease, many people aren’t even aware of the problem until they suffer an injury.
Osteoporosis: “The Silent Disease”
It is known as a “silent disease” because it’s common for people to be unaware of their bones getting weaker and to not suffer any symptoms until they break a bone in an unusual way, such as a minor fall, lifting something, or even coughing or sneezing.
Osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones, affects approximately 10 million Americans aged 50 and up. Women are four times more likely than men to be afflicted by it. According to researchers, about 2 million broken bones every year are caused because of the disease.
A similar but less severe disease known as osteopenia affects 43 million Americans. This condition occurs when the body has a lower-than-normal volume of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. As a result, their bodies are unable to make new bone as quickly as it reabsorbs old bone. Although people with osteopenia still have enough bone density that the condition won’t cause fractures or breaks, the condition can progress to osteoporosis.
To keep bones strong and reduce the risks of weakening:
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D
- Get regular aerobic exercise such as walking, hiking, and stair climbing
- Engage in additional anaerobic exercises like light weightlifting to strengthen muscles as well as balance exercises including Pilates or yoga
- Don’t smoke
Unfortunately, if you do have osteoporosis, an injury can happen anytime, anywhere. You could break a bone at home in your kitchen while getting off a step stool, while you’re enjoying a walk with friends in your neighborhood, or while you’re away on vacation by lifting a suitcase. But you may need immediate emergency medical transportation to the emergency room, and an emergency ambulance or airlift can cost thousands of dollars.
It’s smart to be prepared. Whether you’re home or away, Medical Air Services Association (MASA) covers emergency medical transportation. MASA will cover your ambulance or emergency airlift, and services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays, or dollar limits. NCRGEA and AMBA make getting a MASA plan easy. Learn more at ambamedtransport.com/ncrgea or call 800-956-1228.