By Carrie Winans. May 13-May 19 is National Women’s Health Week! This week has been set aside by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health in order to draw special attention to the unique health issues facing women every day. The week serves as a reminder to schedule regular appointments such as physicals, dental check-ups and OBGYN visits. It also encourages women to take a fresh start to summer and pledge to get active and change their diet to include the healthy vegetables of the season.
One of the most important things about National Women’s Health Week is the strong emphasis on preventive screenings. A preventive screening helps separate healthy individuals from persons who may have an undiagnosed condition. Commonly, tests like mammograms and pap smears come to mind as preventive measures for women.
However, there is another type of preventive screening that women should pay attention to this National Women’s Health Week. Women should get screened for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the loss of calcium and decrease in overall bone mass. As a result of this decrease, bones become fragile and break much more easily. It occurs most often in older women after menopause. While osteoporosis affects both men and women, women are five times as likely to develop the condition.
The National Bone Health Alliance (NBHA) has made a special effort to increase osteoporosis awareness through their 2Million2Many campaign. The basis of the campaign lies in this fact: Each year, there are 2 million bone breaks that are no accident, but signs of osteoporosis. Each year, a third of patients with a hip fracture had a prior fracture. After fractures, four out of five women will never be tested for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis fractures will likely cost Americans $25 billion by 2025.
As part of their efforts and in honor of National Women’s Health Week, NBHA hosted a summit yesterday at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health. Moderated by former Congresswoman, tireless health care advocate, and Disruptive Woman Nancy Johnson and the director of NBH David B. Lee, the summit brought new information to the health world. The summit focused on the specific human and economic impacts of osteoporosis and the NBHA’s plan to reduce bone breaks 20% by the year 2020. This “20/20 Vision” initiative would implement secondary fracture prevention initiatives throughout the nation. (more…)